Friday, November 29, 2013

Gujrati Aloo Curry

Happy Diwali to all my friends and readers who encourage me to keep going on with my blog. Thanks for all your love and support even though I have been infrequent in publishing posts for last couple of months.


 
 
What is your happiest memory of Diwali? Kali Pujo aka Diwali is not a mighty occasion as Durga Pujo in the City of Joy. But Kali Pujo brings back some beautiful childhood, girlhood and womanhood memories of my life spent in Kolkata. Kali Pujo reminds me of my late pet Bonnie who scared of all the resounding firecrackers bursting outside used to skip into my arms, shivering to the bones, for comfort and taking the opportunity of his dread, I would cuddle him incessantly. Kali Pujo reminds me of those long hours of chit-chat session with my childhood best friend on the rooftop of her house throughout the evening to late night with a dig into the lip-smacking bhoger khichuri from the local pujo. Kali Pujo reminds me of Nera Pora which takes place just a day before Diwali in which an effigy of a demon made of hay is burnt with plenty of potatoes placed inside the fire and after the fire is doused, those burnt potatoes are relished with pleasure.
 

Though sitting amid the pin-drop silence of my current neighborhood, it is impossible to fathom that such a mighty colorful festivity is going on in one corner of the world which has illuminated the whole country. What is most unfortunate is that I stay in an apartment where there is no balcony and the entire house being made of wood, I am quite scared of decorating the house with lighted candles lest it catches fire, so I have done my bit by lighting a string of tiny bulbs over the windows. It is looking bright like never before.
 

(The above piece I had written exactly a week before on Diwali but lazy me I took hell lot of time to edit the snaps of food. Anyway please bear with my laziness and enjoy the post that was meant to be posted on Diwali.)


 

The recipe below is not Diwali special anyway. Into my 4th weeks of pregnancy, I am trying to avoid anything that requires elaborate preparation. So this one below is quite an appropriate preparation for people looking for quick recipes. I have got the recipe from Facebook shared by one of my friends who happens to be an expert in vegetarian dishes. I seem to have a lot to learn from her. Thanks Neha.
 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Beetroot Dal


Durga Puja has started in full swing from today and it would be four years in a row I am outside Kolkata during Durga Pujo. I will miss the maddening clamor of Kolkata illuminated in the garb of one of its much awaited and celebrated festival of the year. Few days before in a party someone I met asked me about the hullabaloo with Durga Pujo and I quoted her the lines of Vir Sanghvi who crooned the essence of Durga festival beautifully in his words "You can take the craze of Diwali in Delhi, ...Christmas in London, summer carnival in Rio de janeiro, Valentine's day in Paris and then add it to the month long madness of Olympic Games or the world cup and cram all that into a span of 5 days and you still wouldn't know what you are missing if you haven't been in Kolkata during Durga Puja". Such is the craze with Durga Puja that people all through the years count days for this mighty festival to begin and plan for months on how to spend those precious five days.
 
 

Like thousands others, I have plentiful of beautiful memories connected with Durga festival. First crush, new dresses, fight with friends, food feasting, getting together with relatives and friends from different parts of the globe all of these and lot more take place in the span of those five days amidst the glitter of lighting and melody of sound. From the first strike on Dhak till the immersion of the idol and even after that, the mood of the festival pervades every home in Kolkata. Once the pujo is over, people visit each other's home to exchange greeting of the festival by eating different homemade sweets and delicacies. Sitting in a foreign land in an uncanny silence occasionally broken by the sound of dish water and microwave beeps, I miss a lot the sweet clamor of Kolkata and most of all 'the people'. With 10 weeks into my pregnancy, it will be more than a year waiting when I will be able to visit my homeland again. Sigh !


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kumro Pabda - Pabda Fish with Pumpkins


My days are going really busy these days. Hence I am unable to update my post as frequently as I used to. I am really sorry for that but I will get back to my frequent mode once the course that I am doing is over.

 
Facebook is a boon in one way that it has brought so many of my friends, separated after college or university, together in one place for interaction which otherwise we would not have been able to do. Recently one of my fellow batch mates in University contacted me over Facebook and she being near our city in Illinois we didn't let the chance go for a get-together and there we went driving for 3 and half hours to her place last weekend and her baby is so cute and adorable that you would just feel like cuddling him throughout the day. We had so much fun at her place and she cooked this delicious Kumro Pabda among a slew of other items which I ravenously consumed. Her husband is a good chef and loves experimenting with food and on that note though we met each other for the first time, we got along instantly. He shared some recipes with me and I cooked this Kumro Pabda at home yesterday. It is a simple neat preparation but awesome in taste. A must try if you love pabda.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Shim er Dana Diye Chingri - Prawn Curry with Hyacinth Seeds



How would you feel if you are away at your work and upon returning home find out that your home is not there anymore, but completely bulldozed by some goons into rubble with your valuables stolen by people? This is what I see have happened to a couple in India and it is utterly shocking. What more when the distressed couple went to file a complaint to police, the police refused to lodge a case. I wonder at times where are we heading? It is when we find ourselves in problem like this we begin to understand how the entire system is seeped in corruption. I myself have pretty bad experience while getting our passports done. The officials whose responsibility was to verify files and addresses of the applicants simply won’t do their job or delay the process intentionally unless you grease their palms. It is so pathetic. Anyone having gone through the process would acknowledge my pain.


 

Hyacinth seeds that we call shim er dana in Bengali have been a rarity here. I have been looking for hyacinth beans for over a year but to no avail. So I thought if the hyacinth beans are such a rare sight, hyacinth seeds would be a complete nonentity here but I proving me wrong I found one Bangladeshi grocery store selling hyacinth seeds and not only that my favourite pui shaak was also there. For me that finding had been similar to the experience of discovering a treasure trove. Just Amazing!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Raspberry Linzer Slice

My husband is pretty gadget freak. It's not that he goes to buy every new product launched in the market, his fascination lies elsewhere. He loves exploring the gadgets that he buys by taking the parts out of the system and scrutinizing them. His behavior sort of reminds me of my brother's 7 years old son who equally has a fondness for breaking apart the toy cars brought for him. He likes to open parts of each car and lays them in order for his survey. Of course, the toys die a premature death with most of them becoming totally non-functional after they are dissected so mercilessly. In case of my hubby, not all the gadgets breathe their last in his hands but one or two, mostly those which belong to me, start showing up problems after he experiments on them. My laptop went for a toss recently and became so nonfunctional that I had to buy a new laptop. Anyway, not only he has fascination for conducting close examination of the mechanics of the gadgets, he also cherishes a liking for spilling water or coffee on electronic items, precipitating their demise. Immediately after we got married, he exactly ruined three items (thankfully all of them belonged to him) back to back within a matter of few days either by spilling water or tea - camera, laptop and a brand new phone. The phone was brand new, only two months old but within that short span he managed to drop it from our three-storied apartment once. The phone was lucky to have survived the fall but couldn't survive the tea.


 
Knowing my husband's spilling habit, I made sure to buy him only the cheapest of phones available in the market so that we don't feel the pinch of pain and money after an expensive one went out of form. But upon our coming to USA, he bought the galaxy which recently got soaked in coffee and now it is being repaired at some marooned repair station in Texas. The end result is I am facing a lot of trouble in connecting with hubby when he is away in office or outside. Our life has become so much entwined with phones that in the absence of this device, we just become unworkable. Today is one such day when I am missing to talk to him on phone and I need to wait for him until he shows up during lunch.

 
Few days back I went to a garage sale and there I came across a treasure trove of cooking books being sold at an incredibly low price. I bought few of them randomly and in one such I came across the following recipe which I tweaked a bit according to my own discretion. The output was successful with the raspberry jam exploding into a delightful sweetness inside mouth. Just yummmm!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Egg Shrimp Dry : Egg Shrimp Sukha


This recipe is really interesting because I have made it on my own playing around with ingredients as were available at home that day. Bored with the same egg curry with lots of gravy floating around it, I wanted to try a dry egg preparation which will not be like a conventional egg curry. I had some left over frozen shrimps which I wanted to make use of and nothing could be better than an egg-shrimp or egg-prawn concoction. I think they go well together like house on fire. If you are regular in my blog you might have noticed another of my posts I made earlier using eggs and prawns together in an omelet. Till date everyone I fed that omelet has been vociferous with their praises. So I hope this one too will create the same impression on my guests and readers. Happy eating!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Aam Diye Dal - Sour Mango Lentil Preparation

 


Aam Diye Dal is a refreshing lentil preparation ideal for summer months. It is monsoon in India and mangoes are out of season there, but summer is young in US and green ripe all kinds of mangoes are aplenty in the market. I bought a big green mango few weeks back and but shoved it into some corner of our refrigerator forgetting all about it until I was reminded with a bit of sarcasm by my husband about some vegetables to be really taken care of before they reached sorry stage. I know I have this nasty habit of putting whatever veggies I get a grab of into the basket but this is a new habit that has grown into me mainly because the nearest Indian grocery store is at least 20-25 minutes driving distance away from home and since in the week days rushing to the Indian store is not possible, I maintain to fill my fridge with all the Indian leaves and veggies not easily available in Wal-Mart or Meyer. What to do…..when you run a kitchen, you ought to keep foresight about future needs.
 

Anyway, as I was saying aam diye tak dal is a refreshing meal for the scorching summer months. With mercury soaring higher every given day, this dal would add a cooling sensation to your lunch. Just grab some green mangoes and get set go.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Tuna Rainbow Pasta


Canned Tuna is the second most eaten seafood in USA with per person eating 2.7 pounds Tuna a year. Recently it has come to light that tuna fishes contain the brain-damaging heavy metal mercury though the level of mercury varies from one species to another. Tunas bigger in size like bigeye tuna and lean Bluefin are high in mercury content whereas yellow fin and fatty Bluefin have lower level of mercury. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has especially warned women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or of childbearing age to stay away from tuna as the heavy metal can damage the brain of infants or fetuses. To know more about tuna, go to the following link:
 
 
Anyway, I love tuna sandwiches and I like to use tuna in pastas. As long as I don't eat tuna daily or regularly, I guess I have nothing to fear. The recipe that I am sharing below is of an exotic preparation cooked with a combination of rainbow pasta and canned tuna.



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chingri Bharta -Shrimp Mash-up

 


Everyone out here is making use of the opportunity of the 4th of July holiday to travel somewhere except us. My hubby is stuck in this weird project which keeps Go-live during the summer time only when you want to travel places and hence he doesn't have any holiday tomorrow and in the next few weeks. It is extremely frustrating really.
 
 
Last week I was really busy between my course work and freelance projects with hardly any time left for cooking and so I cooked this easy Chingri Bharta or Shrimp Mash Up that gets ready within 15 minutes sharp and the taste is just supremely divine. Hope you people will like it.
 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sorshe Elish - Hilsa in Mustard Gravy




Life is so unpredictable. At one moment you are performing acrobatic stunts and the next moment you are dead. Day before yesterday we went to the Dayton Airshow in which we witnessed live crash of a plane that killed two, one was the famous wing walker Jane Wicker and another was the pilot. It feels so weird to think that we have captured her last moments in our camera and the plane crashed so suddenly in front of our eyes that it took me few moments coming to terms with the accident. I have never witnessed a mishap before and I pray to God I don't see another. It is a saddening experience watching someone hale and hearty dying instantaneously. The memory of the accident is still giving me goose bumps. All our lives we make plans for this and that forgetting that any moment we could be snapped out of life.





I am not in the best of my mind to write anything cheerful today. This recipe was waiting in my draft for last one week. It is one of the very popular Hilsa preparations relished all over the Bengal. This recipe has lot of variants but this one cooked by my mother is my all-time favorite. Hope you will find it delightful.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rohu Kadhi



Today one of my friends was ruing over the fact that I don't upload recipes that can be made superfast in a jiffy. She said that some recipes should target the segment of working women who after coming back from home don't have enough time and energy to cook a fancy meal. I know not many but there are few recipes I have uploaded which can be made very quickly and they are my saviors in those days when I don't like cooking with any elaborate preparation. Check out the below lists:

Egg Chatpata (10 minutes)

Egg Drop Curry (20 minutes)

Simple Yogurty Alu Dum (20 minutes)



Avocado Pasta (10 minutes)




There are many recipes out there which don't require a long list of ingredients and can be put together within the same timeframe. The below recipe too is an easy one if you can manage to get the fishes fried somehow (may be with the help of your husband ;)...they are good at this task.) and the rest can be made within 5 minutes.
 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Potato Eggplant Curry with Drumsticks - Sojne Data diye Begun Aloo Torkari




Today I am very happy. I found a long lost friend on FB. I have been searching her on the cyber world for over 4-5 years but her name is so commonly found among Bengalis that every time I keyed in her name in the search engine, hundred others of her namesakes appeared on the screen, making the act of searching a humongous task. When I was about to give up hope of ever finding her, today out of the blue I received a friend request from her, to my utter shock and surprise. It feels so nice to catch up with old buddies. All the memories of precious bygone days come flooding in your mind and you just drift in a wave of memories. The silly things you did together, the puerile dreams, the skirmishes all come streaming in front of your eyes and you realize how many good years have passed in between. College life would be always special in anyone's life and so many memories of mine are linked with her. I feel bad at time for having grown up so soon.


 
Anyway, allow me the opportunity to share the recipe now. It is a simple concoction of potato, eggplant and drumsticks. We call drumsticks in Bengali sojne data and we all grow up knowing how chewing on the drumsticks strengthens our teeth. Strengthening or not, I love chewing sojne data for the juicy flavor that bursts in the mouth as I crush them between teeth.


 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Avocado Pasta



Considered a fruit, avocado because of its leathery hide and pear-like shape is often referred as the Alligator Pear. The tree that bears the avocado fruits stands 65 feet tall and is known as Persea Americana. Avocados are rich source of 20 vital nutrients including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fibers, vitamins and potassium. Avocados are eaten raw usually with salad, sandwich and sometimes pasta. So today the recipe I will be sharing is of avocado pasta. It is an ideal meal when you are short on your time for cooking anything fancy and it tastes just awesome. My fondness for avocado has grown after coming to US and I must confess eating avocado is one of the healthy habits I nurture. 




This dish is cooked with spaghetti or linguini pasta but in my photo you might find traces of penne pasta as well. As I was short of spaghetti, I mixed penne pasta with it to increase the quantity to suffice for our dinner.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Prawn Curd Rice



You gotta really worry when your neighbor is a potential psycho. Very recently a new occupant has come in the flat below us and within two weeks of his arrival, he has visited us twice to complain about making sound. Now I really don't how to keep pin drop silence in a wooden house. In last two weeks after coming back from the NY trip we were so tired that we didn't even invite any friend or hold a party at home, but still the man came knocking at our door twice, once at 1 o'clock at night. I was completely freaked out when his knock from a dull monotone went on becoming louder and louder. He at least knocked for 5-6 times loudly on our door, imagine at the dead of night. I was so scared that I didn't let my husband even open the door. The man is a maniac. Our A/c was not working on that night with a temperature hovering around 100F. We were not able to sleep so I stood up on our bed to open the vent of A/c wide not knowing the a/c had blown up. The thudding of my foot on the floor had woken him up from his sleep as it seems and he without any hesitation ran upstairs to complain. My Gawd!!



 

I am scared of psychos and USA is full of them. When I complained about this activity to our community, the woman sitting behind the desk gave a laugh and told me to ignore the man as much as possible with a warning not to get into any confrontation with him because often this type of recluse turns out to be psychopath.


 

Coming to the recipe below, I collected this one from a cookery show. I think the taste might not suit all although I liked it very much. I have friends averse to curry leaves and hence I think people not fond of curry leaves may find this dish not appetizing enough, but those who have no problem with curry leaves will find the dish flavorsome. I for one enjoyed the simplicity of the flavor and the hassle-free preparation.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Coconut Paratha - Narkel Parota




 
Summer has finally set in in US. Summer here is really beautiful with the sun being up in the horizon till wee hours into the evening. It's one of a kind experience to have your dinner watching the sun set down. Since winter here is mind-bogglingly frustrating forcing one to confinement, summer opens the sought-after gate for all the sinful escapades winter deprives one of. To bask in the moments of summer, we packed our bags and made the first trip of this season to NY again, this time mainly with the purpose catching up with my sister in law who will be getting married very soon. Last few days have been really relaxing with food, hearty conversation and travels to exotic locations occupying our hours, but nothing comes without a hitch. My husband fell sick on the trip which kept me on my toes for one day and we changed our itinerary to reach home safely. For the first time in my life I drove for hours on congested busy highway from NY to Ohio due to my husband not being properly fit for driving because of sickness, though he took charge of the steering wheel once in a while to give my eyes a little respite. Driving for hours is quite strenuous on nerves and eyes I must say, but it honed my driving skill.


 
Anyway, the recipe of this paratha has been waiting in my draft for few weeks...this paratha tastes really good with pickle or curd but please take care not to add too much of water while preparing the coconut stuffing else the paratha might fall apart during the making.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Yogurty Chicken


 
There is a particular cosmetic counter in a mall here where I buy cosmetics of a particular brand. What is very common about the cosmetics stores in India and here is the sales girls at the counter just try to shove products in your hand, so you go there to buy a regular face cream and you come back home buying a host of other things that you didn't have any plan of buying, credits to the marketing ability of the girl behind the counter who with her sweet smile and convincing but pushy marketing skill sell you products that you have no need of. While shopping in the malls in Kolkata many a time I have had experience of a sales woman coming behind me and showing me this and that dress of her choice to convince me how good that would look on me. Now I have been seeing myself on the mirror for years and I have little if not much sense of what I look good in and since in a mall the dresses are all over the place in front your eyes, you really don't need any help in choosing a dress for yourself unless you are very confused and ask someone for help. But it's really annoying when the girls don't leave you alone to pick your choice.

 

 

In US, thank God, you can shop your clothes at your own free will without a sales girl trying to shove a dress in your hand, but can't say the same thing while you go shopping for cosmetics. So as I said in the beginning, I buy cosmetics of a particular brand in a mall here and now every time I go there to buy the face cream, she shoves something or the other in my hand so persuasively that I can't say no. I have this problem of not being able to say no to people from childhood. Though not as bad as I was before in saying no, now I manage to utter the negative word once in a while but in front of someone being so pushy with her sweet smile and warm hospitable behavior, I simply find myself dumb and so out of the feeling that I would disappoint her if I don't buy any of the products she is trying so vehemently to sell, I end up buying cosmetics that I had no plan of buying while entering there.

 


I am sure many are there like me who similar way get influenced by the marketing skill of the sales girls and buy things not needed. I wish I would know how to evade the extra unnecessary purchase without disappointing them.
 
Back to the recipe, this is a very simple yet fantastic preparation of chicken. Make sure to cook it using butter. The buttery flavor boosts up the taste to a great degree.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Shahi Mutton



Last week went pretty turbulently for me. My system went for a toss, thanks to my husband's over enthusiasm. All the hardware devices started malfunctioning including the USB ports, speaker and audio device and then a defect in motherboard was detected repairing which would equal to the price of a new laptop. So I preferred to go for a new laptop instead. It is baby pink Vaio. I just can't take my eyes off it. The earlier Vaio was turquoise blue in color and while buying that 2 years back I was looking for a pink color but due to its immediate unavailability, I settled for the blue. Anyway my dream of owning a pink laptop has finally fulfilled. I have this fetish for pink. I have plenty of pink dresses, tops and I usually go for pink lipsticks and my nickname 'Pinky' also finely fits into fascination with pink. So though I was very sad after the blue Vaio got damaged, I am equally happy now for the new possession.
 


 
Okay, so today I am going to post an awesome recipe of mutton that I have been planning for ages to post but somehow due to time constraint could not make it. Anyway, better late than never. Enjoy the mutton and let me know if you have any query.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Paneer Bhapa - Steamed Paneer




Sorry Friends. Lately I have got little busy with my freelancing projects and hence my posts are not as frequent as were earlier, but thanks for your patience. Today I am going to post one of my favorite paneer preparations. It is my favorite not because it is very tasty, but because it is very hassle free.
 


























Paneer Bhapa is a dry paneer curry cooked through steaming. If you have a steamer at home, you may use that to get this dish right or else you may follow the traditional technique of steaming, put all the ingredients together in a tiffin box tightly closed with a lid and then place the tiffin box inside a pressure cooker and pour 1/2 glass of water around the tiffin box to bring about steam. Now snap the lid of the pressure cooker in place and cook until 1 whistle. Don't open the lid immediately, let the pressure come down to room temperature and then open the lid. This paneer curry tastes best with rice, mainly because I have used mustard oil. I have seen my mother pouring raw mustard oil into the dish as final touch. The raw smell of mustard oil adds a pungent flavor to the dish which we Bengalis like. But you may cook the dish using white oil if you want to enjoy it with roti and as final touch, you may add ghee.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tetul Diye Elish - Tamarind Hilsa

 
 
 
Monsoon was the only season when hilsa used to flood the market. We have grown up seeing that trend only, waiting for a year after the end of one monsoon for another to take a bite into hilsa fish. But these days, thanks to the much improved refrigeration technique hilsa is available round the year. At least here in US we get hilsa all the time and the quality is outstanding.
Not wasting much time in dabbling, let’s get on to the recipe which is pretty innovative with tamarind pulp adding to the flavor.
 
 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chicken Guacamole Sandwich




Few weeks before I shared the recipe of guacamole and few days after that of Turkey Guacamole Wrap and few days later the recipe of Turkey Bacon Guacamole Sandwich. Yes it is true I am increasingly growing fond of guacamole. So here goes another lip-smacking mind-invigorating recipe of Chicken Guacamole Sandwich, one of the best sandwiches I have tasted so far. This sandwich is so good that you can actually consider serving it in restaurants. Seriously!!

 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sweet Oat Pancake



The weather last week was very beautiful with clear weather and the sun glowing red into the late evening sky, a telltale sign of summer approaching. In fact the mercury went up a bit putting my excitement high and I went out to bask in the sunshine pulling on a flimsy jacket over a top on last Sunday, but the last two days of murky weather with heavy wind howling and growling in full might occasionally accompanied by bouts of rain dampened all my feelings of enthusiasm before even they could take shape. With the way things going, looks like I need to stay sheltered in the cocoon of my home this weekend for the mighty gales make the feel-like temperature go up by few degrees.
 
 
Anyway, it's been long I have not posted anything new of oats.  This sweet oat pancake will remind you of French toast. This recipe originally was featured in biggest loser recipes, but they did add no butter and very less sugar, which I kind of modified in my recipe of the same. Having come to know of butter being good fat, I have become very fond of butter, not that I used to dislike it anyway but these days I am eating butter without guilt.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Green Goddess



The season of mango is in, summer. This is that time of the year when trees become laden with mango blooms. The most beautiful thing of summer is the abundance of ripe mangoes. Mangoes of different types, shapes and sizes deluge the markets of Kolkata during these two-three months period of extreme weather. I am very fond of mangoes, both ripe and raw ones. I could eat 2-3 ripe mangoes at one go when I am in mood and the mangoes are deliciously succulent, but sadly outside Bengal or abroad, the quality of mangoes are not as good as those of Bengal.
 
 
 
West Bengal with its humidity and extreme climate offer perfect ground for mango cultivation. The sweet juicy fleshy mangoes of Bengal is a great miss here, though mangoes are on sale in US market all over the year, but the quality of taste and juiciness come nowhere near to that of West Bengal. Few times over tempted by the external good looks of the mangoes specked with perfect combination of crimson, orange and yellowish tinges, I bought a good many mangoes that resulted in disappointment for the taste being blandly sweet or tart. Later on, I used them for making custard as I couldn't relish them uncooked.

After the same experience repeated time and again for couple of times, I finally have settled myself on only buying the green mangoes; at least I won't keep vain hope of them being sweet and succulent while buying and the pangs of disappointment will be less. The following is recipe of a juice enjoyable during those scorching summer afternoons when the body thirsts for something cool and sensational to keep itself from dehydration.
 
 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sweet Potato Curry with green peas





Sweet potatoes are extremely rich in nutritional benefits. Anti-flammatory, anti-oxidant sweet potatoes have many nutritional values some of which can be obtained only through cooking sweet potatoes by steaming or boiling. Though in our part of the world sweet potatoes are extensively used in making only desserts, the variety of flavorsome sweet potato recipes found over the internet manifests its versatility.
 
 
The below recipe is not mine. I got it from madhurasrecipe.com. When the first time I tried it, it came along very well winning compliments from all. Next time I added few ingredients of my own to give the dish an extra zing. A must try out for all health freaks and sweet potato lovers.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Korola Bhaji - Bitter Gourd Fry



Not many people are fond of bitter gourds I know. I also don't like bitter gourds that much unless cooked in a stylish way with a spiked-up taste and flavor. In fact, I don't have any fascination for eating anything tasting bitter, but there are people I know including my mother, father, sister, mother in law and so much as my husband going gaga over these bitter tasting veggies, putting me to question what secret taste is there that they like these veggies so much. Ya, I know they are healthy, but c'mon eating every day something bitter at the beginning of every meal is too preposterous for me and surprisingly, I have never seen my father giving these bitter tasting veggies a miss any day of his meal.
 
 

There was a time I even wouldn't consider putting korola into my mouth but after marriage when my mom in law introduced the taste to me through her wonderful magic of a dal preparation Uchche Diye Moong Dal, I began acquiring a taste for it. I realized korola or uchche or bitter gourd is not so bad as I used to think it would be. The bitterness is tolerable and if you can cook your curry fashionably with mixing and matching few taste boosting ingredients, bitter gourd tastes really nice.

The below recipe of Korola Bhaji or Bitter Gourd Fry is one example of how can even bitter gourd tweak you taste bud. It usually goes very nice with rice and dal, but you can become little adventurous by enjoying it as snacks with a cup of tea or coffee. I bet the combination would be an innovation.
 
 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Banana Blue Lagoon




The name 'Blue Lagoon' reminds me of the first adult film I had seen years ago starring Brooke Shields in her adolescence. It was a beautiful film, a mash up of love and innocence found in its pure form unalloyed by any external influence.

It was in a restaurant in Kolkata where I was taken by a pleasing sensation of epicurean delight at the very first sip of this aphrodisiac mocktail. On our return journey from Mahabaleshwar we came across a lush winery and vineyard in Panchgani where among a ceaseless selection of choice beverages and drinks, we picked up a bottle of concentrated blue lagoon specialty drink. It was very easy in preparation; one has to add measured cup of chilled water into 2 or 3 tsp blue lagoon essence and the drink would be game for serving.


Banana Blue Lagoon deviates a little from the regular blue lagoon in taste and flavor. Of course, as the very name suggests, it is a novel concoction of banana, coconut milk, lemon and soda with few cubes of ice adding to the savor, a perfect combination to win you praises.

 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chickpea Sandwich



In US, everything is organized and put in proper order. You just need to look out and starting from road directions to grocery stores, banks, market place everything is well-directed and arrayed in designated places. You will not see grocery stores lined up in and around housing complexes as are common in India. Proper positioning of items in designated areas definitely is a good idea, but at times while cooking something if you remember of an ingredient for immediate use; you won't get the thing available within walking distance right in your neighborhood. You need to take your car out and drive few miles to avail the ingredient. This makes things like grocery shopping hasslesome for people like me who don't function with organization and only remember things at the last moment. Another drawback for things being arranged in specific order of places is nothing being within walking distance, the tiny bit of agility we acquire by walking down few blocks while heading to a grocery store is out of option here. Life becomes very sedentary and dependent on driving. As life becomes sedentary, a lot of uncalled for health issues crop up. No doubt why obesity is a big problem here because unless you are conscious of what you eat and stir your body into a routine exercise, chances of putting on weight even maintaining a normal diet is high.



 

I have become extra cautious about my diet after coming over here. Whatever you eat seems to cling on to your body unless you visit gym regularly but for many working people, heading to the gym every day is not a viable option always.

Anyway, sandwich is considered to be healthier than many deep fried items and now that I have become a tad conscious about what I put into my mouth, I have taken a fondness for sandwiches. So here goes an awesome chickpea sandwich for you.
 

Grape Juice



My husband has this quirky averseness towards fruits because of which I cannot make fruit salad sort of stuff for the fear that he won't even put them into his mouth, but prepare something juicy and he will gulp it down. That is why most of the time when fruits are brought home, I usually make juice out of them so that both of us can relish it together or else the responsibility of polishing off the fruits raw and diced is left entirely on to me.

 


So these grapes were shelved in the refrigerator for quite some time now and before they began to grow stale, I wanted to make use of them. The idea of making grape juice clicked my mind and since I wanted to avoid adding sugar as grapes are already quite sweet in flavor, I rather packed a punch by adding a blend of chat masala and kosher salt. If kosher salt is not readily available, you may use black salt as substitute.
 

















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