Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hilsa in Vinegar Sauce

I don't know if the problem is with my husband only or if the trait is common among all men that they don't do things unless reminded 100 times over. One very interesting quirk of my husband is if I tell him to do a certain thing in kitchen, he comes and engages himself in doing all sorts of other nonsense other than the work I assign him to. Any work requiring gentle handling if I assign mindlessly to my hubby, sure he is going to ruin it. Once while going to a party I was trying to wrap a bracelet, that I beaded myself painstakingly through many days, around my wrist but somehow could not manage to bind the clasp when I had to call my hubby for help.  He came, jerked the clasp with such a force that the bracelet intricately woven in beads fell pell-mell into tiny bits on the ground, to my utter dismay. Our refrigerator is another item subjected to his force of strength every now and then. Recently while opening the fridge he pulled the door with such might that the buckle around the front shelf on the door came loose and all the things stuffed in the shelf tumbled out on to the floor, splinters of a jar of cherry preserves flying through the air. It was not the first time he made such a mess by the way, whenever I see him around the fridge knowing his nature I tell him to practice caution while opening the door but he is he; my words go in with one ear and out with the other. 
Then the other day I sent him to the market to buy boneless chicken and chicken broth. He returned home with two packages of chicken broth but there was no sight of boneless chicken. When enquired, he scratching his head told me that he forgot about the chicken and accused me rather that I should have reminded him when he was going out. Now I don't know how many times I need to echo the reminders. Again he rushed to the market to buy boneless chicken. I think I can write an entire diary narrating episodes of such breakage and losing of items caused by my hubby's carefree calamitous nature. Recollection of those incidents later brings a smile on my face but at the time of occurrence, all I feel is sheer irritation.
Hilsa in Vinegar Sauce is an interesting concoction the recipe of which I picked up essentially from a cookery show. It is interesting because it has no hassle of chopping veggies involved. It can be made in one of those busy days when you want to cook fish curry speedily with little preparation . 

Til Kumro - Pumpkin with Sesame Seeds

Game of Thrones Season 3 is going to be aired on screen from 31st March onwards. I just cannot hold in my excitement. I have been a follower of the show ever since 2011 when it hit the screen for the first time. The story, characters and the plot are so beautifully designed and presented to the audience with full of gripping suspense and unexpected twists at every turn of the event that one is bound to get glued to the show. However, when the same was aired in India few months later its release here, I was stunned by how mercilessly Indian censor board chopped some of the crucial scenes or clips of dialogue on the ground of nudity, violence or vulgarity, thereby ruining the essence of the entire story. I wonder when the Indian Censor Board will stop treating the mass like a 13 year old child and allow us the enjoyment of seeing a full uncut version of a show like an adult.
'Til Kumro' is made with curry leaves, tamarind extract, sesame seeds and grated coconut as the base flavoring agents. But the taste will not be predominantly sour, balancing nicely between a mild tartness and a hint of sweetness. So just be careful that no particular taste overlaps the other.
For more recipes on Pumpkin, please click the links below:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Egg Manchurian

Couple of days ago I was reading an online article that shared few funny strange food facts that I am sure most of us are unaware of, at least I was pretty surprised by the revelation of facts. I would like to touch upon some of them in a nutshell and if you feel interested in reading further, you may click the link cited below.
1) Do you know dynamite can be made with peanuts? Yes, peanut oil can be processed to produce one of the constituents of dynamite: nitroglycerin. Isn't that amazing?
2) Do you know Popsicle that we all must have delightfully savored in our childhood was actually quite accidentally invented by an 11 year old boy back in 1905?
3) Do you know the largest food item ever to be served on a platter is roasted camel? The roasted camel that is stuffed with sheep's meat, which again is stuffed with chicken, which is stuffed with fishes with eggs stuffed inside, has been known to hog the spotlight in Bedouin weddings.
4) The most unique one is still left. Caution: it might shock coffee lovers to the core. One very expensive coffee bean sold between the ranges of $120-$600 per pound actually comes from the poo of a cat sized mammal called Civet.
For more information on such weird facts and phenomenon related to food, please visit the following link:
(Disclaimer: The website has not paid me to advertise the page. While hopping through the cyber world, I came across this enlightening bit of news which I thought of sharing with my readers.)
Anyway, enough musing on the food facts, now let’s focus on the recipe I am going to share today. It's none other than Egg Manchurian. Well, I have tried egg Manchurian many a time following recipes that I could gather from the internet, but none suited my fancy or taste bud so to say, hence after a lot of trials and errors, finally I fixed my mind on the following one which is absolutely my own. I know, I know the list of ingredients is long but hey, it is Egg Manchurian and hence.....
For more recipes on eggs, check out the links below:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mexican Chicken Rice

The location of our apartment is just fantabulous, for it is at the heart of the city flanked by gourmet restaurants and swanky shopping malls within walking distance. Needless to say, we eat out a lot taking the opportunity of the convenience of the location. One of our favorite haunts for dinner is Chipotle Mexican Grill famed for serving tantalizing tacos and burritos.
I love Mexican cuisines and for a long time I wanted to try a Mexican dish at home. So to begin with, I started my experimental venture with something very easy in preparation; Mexican Chicken Rice. I believe whoever has a grasp of cooking pulao can cook this dish effortlessly. The process followed in cooking Mexican Chicken Rice is same as that of pulao, the difference remaining only in the ingredients used. Just as we cook pulao, conventionally, with milk or water in some cases, Mexican rice has to be cooked with chicken broth easily available in the market. For people not familiar with the technique of cooking pulao, let me phrase this as simplifying as possible: in cooking dishes like pulao or pilaf where rice is cooked along with the other flavorsome essential ingredients, one important factor to keep in mind is the water and rice ratio. Estimated on 1:2 ratios, normally, 1 cup rice requires 2 cups of water to get cooked. However, the amount of water might vary with the brand of rice you use; but having said that, essentially, more or less most of the rice gets cooked at 1:2 rice and water ratio. So get the quantity right and everything will fall in place smoothly.
For more recipes on rice, please click the links below:

Cucumber Sandwich with Cream Cheese

Sometimes it feels nice to give cooking a break and settle for something simple yet fulfilling. Nothing can serve this purpose better than sandwiches. Talking about sandwiches, the first ever sandwich I had in my life was the one made by my mother. It was during those days when there was no presence of CCD and Barista in Kolkata. My mother's version of sandwich was very plain, bread slices coated with butter were arranged on top of each other with tomato and cucumber slices put inside. She would add a sprinkling of salt and crushed black pepper to enhance the flavor and pronto, sandwich is ready. These sandwiches maa used to pack quite frequently in my school tiffin, apart from Egg Fried Noodle, of course, the story that I narrated in my earlier post.
Anyway, children of today's generation won't feel satisfied with sandwiches so simply put together. They like stylish things. I have seen my sister, for example, floundering around to pack something fancy for her children in tiffin, otherwise the boxes in most of the days return unfinished. So mothers can think of garbing the old cucumber sandwiches in dollops of cream cheese and mayonnaise mixture, boosting up the flavor to a great degree and who doesn't love mayonnaise?? Children will go brouhaha over it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Gokul Pithe

I wanted to post the recipe of Gokul Pithe on Poush Sankranti only but in the frenzy of pithe making euphoria, the snaps clicked then didn't come out presentable and I couldn't post the recipe without appetizing snaps, can I? After all, we feast with our eyes first. So there I was waiting for an occasion to make the batch of gokul pithes again and the chance came when one of the colleagues of my husband especially requested me to cook and send him 'Rosh Bora'. Now Gokul Pithe is quite akin to rosh bora taste wise, the filling apart. So instead of Rosh Bora I planned of cooking Gokul Pithe, that way both his craving and my need of a good photo will be met and anyway, he is not Bengali so I don't think he will be able to distinguish much of a difference between the two :D

For people, not acquainted with Bengali way of cooking, let me give a prelude about pithe before I start narrating the recipe. Pithe is a kind of sweet cake prepared usually from a batter of rice flour, semolina and all-purpose flour stuffed with sometimes savory fillings made from a mixture of coconut, jaggery and the like. Pithes are deep-fried, steamed, soaked in syrup or cooked with milk. The variety is humongous, depending on region to region within India. So rest assured the pithes made in Bengal will be unheard of in other states of India among non-Bengalis, though different versions of the same pithes known in different names in other states of India might be prevalent.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Banana Poke Cake Topped with Butterscotch Pudding and Whipped Cream

I was just about to fall from the chair laughing when one of my former students told me that she has changed the sweet name that her parents adoringly christened her with to something that she feels goes with her tomboyish 'personality', now that she has become a dancer in profession. When I joined their school as a teacher, I used to be pretty young myself, fresh passout with no job experience whatsoever. Tackling a class full of noisy teenagers was quite challenging for me. In the initial days of my joining there, the first batch I was made a class teacher of put me to the test of how well I deal with adolescent girls. Teenage girls (thankfully the school was not co-ed) gathered in groups could be quite intimidating for a young inexperienced teacher like me who herself was pretty student-like in behavior back then. They used to laugh behind my back (and fall silent when I would turn around), shower me with a barrage of excuses for not completing lessons, interrupt my speech at every five minutes asking for permission to go to the restroom and yes, the most daunting of all was after the test results were out and I needed to show them their answer papers, they would surround my table comparing each other's marks and asking me to explain the difference.
As I was not experienced, I didn't know how tactfully I should reveal the test results and how to quieten an unruly bunch of girls, which gradually with the help of my ex-colleagues I mastered in, but before that the best way I could think of grappling with the situation was to try being as stern as possible by maintaining a very no nonsense personality in class. Especially the very next year after my joining when I was made the class teacher of standard twelve, I practiced hard at home to wear a solemn face, one of gravity and seriousness, very much unlike me, to crack the whip.
Personally, I am pretty flamboyant and ever-smiling, one just needs to click the button and I am off to a bellyaching hysteria. So feigning a no nonsensical persona was not a cinch, but sometimes in order to do your job right you need to act otherwise going beyond your usual nature to achieve the result you desire and in my case it was commanding obedience that my no-nonsense personality drew from students who used to fall silent even seeing my shadow near their class and at the end, that's what I needed for managing a class filled with over 50-60 students. But it's funny albeit sweet to hear my ex-student telling me on FB, "Ma’am, truly the first time I saw you ever smiling is in your pics"....pretty amusing, ha!!
Back to the recipe, a poke cake is a cake with a lot of holes made into it by poking to act as pores to absorb the liquid mixture poured on top. To add a finale touch, the cake is crowned with whipped topping and further garnished with crushed wafers.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rui Macher Muro Diye Cholar Dal - Chana Dal with Rohu Fish Head

Giving names to the newest member of your family could be quite a daunting task especially if he or she is the first born to carry the baton of your family name. Just a fortnight back, my sister in law has given birth to a beautiful bonny boy in Hyderabad. Now there is a huge hullaballoo going on in choosing an appropriate name for him, everyone from the family pitching in names of their choice. I myself have shortlisted some and sent to my brother in law for consideration. Usually, everyone in my husband's side of family has their name starting with 'deb', which sounds wonderful when addressed in series. I would be very happy if my brother in law ultimately settles on a name beginning with 'deb' in continuation of the old trend. Let’s see if he likes the names I shortlisted for the tiny bundle of joy of our family or not :)
Last time I made Cabbage Curry with the rohu head, so this time I wanted to make something different. I never concocted Chana dal with rohu head until I got the recipe of Sadhana Mukherjee in hand. Though Bhaja Moong Dal with rohu head is quite a common fare in Bengali households, Chana dal with rohu head is an extraordinary combination. Flavorsome, this dal goes very well with steamed rice and Begun Bhaja.
For more recipes of dal, please click the links below:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Omelet Tortilla Wrap

Waiting could be so tiresome and frustrating when the duration lingers. Usually my hubby comes home for lunch as the office is hardly at 2 miles distance from where we live, but these days he stays stuck in meetings during lunch time even, which is very annoying, as with food ready I need to count minutes when he will come and we'll have lunch together. This is another day when I am waiting for him on lunch while he is engaged in meetings. As I am waiting for him, I think of utilizing the time by posting the recipe of something I recently made over dinner.
This recipe of Omelet Tortilla Wrap is quite flexible and versatile. You may prepare the omelet using anything you like, beans, carrots, bacon, ham or the way I have the ingredients tossed together. Essentially, everything depends on your imagination, so work your culinary instinct into practice. I had some leftover from the filling of Turkey Guacamole Wrap which I made few days back and I used the remnant of the filling in adding a variety to the omelet. Voila! It came out really lip-smacking.
For more such recipes, click the links below:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shalgam Diye Rui Maach - Rohu Fish with Turnip

Shalgam in English is called Turnip. Though in Bengal, shalgam is not as popularly used as the other vegetables like potato, bottle gourd, eggplant, pumpkin, radish and papaya, my mother makes varieties of preparations with shalgam. It tastes really nice, somewhat close to the taste of bottle gourd and potato combined. Turnip roots are a rich source of anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibers. Because of its low calorie content, addition of turnip roots in your regular diet helps you keep your weight under control.

Recently I made this rohu curry substituting potato with shalgam, the turnout came out to be delicious to say the least. Both me and my hubby relished the fish curry with steamed rice for two days to the full satisfaction of our tummies. This curry besides fulfilling the craving of your palate satisfies those of the nutritional needs of your body.
For more of fish recipes, please click the links below:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Turkey Guacamole Wrap

I have started adoring guacamole absolutely now, adding its creamy richness quite often to our palate. The main ingredient behind guacamole is of course avocado without which the very existence of guacamole would come under question. Now I was not aware whether avocado is a vegetable or a fruit. It is pear shaped and looks like a fruit but its usage in salad, sandwiches reinforce the doubt of it being a vegetable. Then tomato is also a fruit, but still used extensively in the concoction of innumerable cuisines. With mingled curiosity and confusion, I scouted the cyber world for an answer and finally felt satisfied knowing that avocado is a fruit and not a vegetable. I know many people who have grown up eating avocadoes from childhood may find my confusion unusual, but incidentally I hail from a tropical country where avocadoes don't grow naturally, so needless to say, I have acquired a taste for avocado upon coming to US only where avocadoes are sold aplenty in the market.

Despite the overwhelming craze for avocadoes in US, I was doubtful of how far its taste would suit my Indian palate while trying it for the first time on our trip to Las Vegas in celebration of our 5th anniversary. There in the hotel I ordered for a chicken avocado sandwich skeptically, unsure whether I would appreciate its taste. But just one bite into the creamy layer of sandwich was enough to remove all doubts and I fell in instant love. I decided to try my hand on preparing the most celebrated concoction with avocado that is 'guacamole', which is a Mexican sauce used as dip or incorporated in salad or sandwiches to enhance the flavor, upon my return from the trip.
I have made guacamole more than four or five times now, each time making it taste better than the earlier one with just few additions and subtractions of this and that element. Mind you, guacamole is very versatile recipe and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Last Friday when I made guacamole again, I had to grab hold of some tortilla wraps to make the following. I just love to consume guacamole this way spread inside a wrap. Just lovely!!

I have made the filling using turkey, but chicken would taste equally nice and by the way both turkey and chicken are quite similar in taste, so the change of meat would not make any huge difference.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Egg Biriyani


I had tried quite a few variations of Chicken biriyani, fish biriyani but I have never tried Egg Biriyani until very recently. Like any other biriyani preparation, egg biriyani too can be cooked in a variety of ways. For simplicity of the purpose, I made it simply by cooking everything together, but if you want to be more authentic then you may cook the rice and eggs separately, combine them together in a large flat bottomed vessel and cook through slow heating for 25 minutes just as done in traditional dum biriyanis.
I have used garam masala for the biriyani, but if you want you may use biriyani masala easily available in Indian stores for the same purpose. Since garam masala adds an essence to the whole concoction, be mindful of using a garam masala of good brand or like me, you may dry roast the whole spices at home and prepare your own home-made garam masala powder.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fried Egg Noodles with Turkey


Talking about fried noodles, the only thing that comes to my mind is the tiffin box my mother used to fill with noodles while I went to school. My mother cooked noodle with such perfection bringing out a mouthwatering taste that before even I could eat my portion, my friends would share it wholly among each other leaving almost next to nothing for me. While they gorged on my noodles hungrily, I hopelessly munched on their food to fill my tummy. Later on, whenever my mother used to send noodles for my tiffin, she without fail would put two boxes in my school bag, one for me and the other for my friends.
I still love noodles very very much and I am yet to meet anyone who doesn't. My usual way of cooking noodles involves chicken, prawn among the essential items as might be noted in the recipe of Chicken Prawn Stir Fried Noodles with Vegetables and Mushroom, but this time going out of my usual norm, I cooked noodles with shredded turkey and dried shrimps. If in case you don't like dried shrimps, you may substitute it with fresh ones. Dried shrimps in Bengali are called "chingri shutki" and I know many people in Kolkata turning up nose at the very mention of 'shutkis' as if we Bangals, people originating from East Bengal, culture a habit of eating poison. But trust me, if you can bear with the overwhelming stinky smell during cooking, you may concoct some very fine dishes with shutki and they taste awesome when incorporated in curries.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Garlic Soup


On Valentine's Day we went to a nearby Thai restaurant for dinner and the food, though lip-smacking, was very spicy. The next day my hubby went on complete austerity in terms of food intake and I had to make something light keeping in mind the upsetting condition of his stomach. I made garlic soup which is a meal in itself for being fulfilling, yet tasty. It served the rightful purpose of keeping my hubby filled without adding to his further woes. But just because I cooked the soup for my sick hubby doesn't mean that the soup is edible for the ailing only, it is very tasty and I like it a lot, more so, because a bowl of this soup suffices for dinner.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Turkey Bacon Guacamole Sandwich

A beautiful quote by Dalai Lama says "Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck." It is no wonder that our heart sometimes craves for something that would do more harm than good. We fall in love with wrong people, desperately crave for them, cry our heart out, and get into depression for not having the one we desire, but time has its wonderful way of showing that not always the things we crave for are good for us in the long run. You may have seen it yourself that with some people the chemistry just clicks without any problem and with some people, no matter how hard you try, something untoward as if pre-destined happens impeding the growth of a viable relationship. This Universe works in a mysterious way in conspiring events, leading to an ultimate epiphany.

Years ago I read in a journal about a woman betrothed to a man who declined the marriage because of some issue and later the girl got married to somebody else. Within less than a year she came to know of the former fiancé having died in an accident. Fate or the Universe or whatever you call it saved her from an early widowhood. Similarly, one couple was on the verge of divorce, living separately and contesting in court when the wife met an accident and went into coma. The husband, shaken by the incident, started spending more of his time with his comatose wife fighting for survival. Years later the wife regained consciousness and both coalesced into a happy union keeping their past grievances behind.
In my personal life also, I have had the same epiphany while celebrating our 5th anniversary. No one else would have been more appropriate for me other than him :)

Anyway, coming back to the recipe, in my earlier entry, you have found the recipe of guacamole and now with this recipe, you may learn how to use guacamole to make a perfect gourmet sandwich. I just love the creamy texture of avocado in each bite. It is absolutely aphrodisiac.


Guacamole is a Mexican sauce made from avocado seasoned with garlic, chilli, lime juice, onion, tomato and spices. It is used as dip, condiment or salad ingredient and sometimes added to sandwiches to enhance the flavour. To prepare guacamole, you need to buy couple of fresh avocadoes from the market and ripen them at home in normal temperature. Just keep them wrapped in a paper or plastic packet and it will take 2-3 days for the avocadoes to acquire the desired ripened consistency. Make the guacamole quickly after and luxuriate in its creamy richness. Mmmmmmmmm, bliss!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chingri Maacher Khichuri - Prawn Khichuri

There was a time when I used to love reading soft mushy romantic books, Mills and Boons kind but I realized with time that fairytale love stories exist in the realm of books and movies only. Real life walks in a different route altogether. Anyway, Valentine's Day is approaching nearer. I know lots of people who celebrate Valentine's Day in full swing and lots of people who sulk. One teenage sister in law of mine, for example, has put up a status on FB calling "Valentine's Day the stupidest day ever". When enquired of the reason for her such antagonistic statement, she clarifies that she feels frustrated seeing couples all over the place on V-Day whereas she and people like her who don't have anyone yet to address as their valentines feel left out and lacking. I completely understand her emotions because I used to feel the same way when I was her age.
Now it's not fair to segregate Valentine's Day into a celebration exclusive to people in love only. You may wish anyone you love on V-day including brother, sister, mother, father, friends and for that matter, just anyone you like. V-day celebrates love and love is not limited between pairs. So anywhere where your heart is, wishes can be exchanged. Taking the opportunity of the moment, let me wish you my readers a Very Happy Valentine's Day. May love and goodwill thrive in the world.
The below recipe is not perfectly grand and befitting for an occasion like Valentine's Day, but I believe something that my hubby gobbles up with love and affection is share worthy on V-day. After all, love is what that matters. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicken Spring Roll

Strong wind howling outside throughout the day since morning, so bad that couple of times I opened the door to check if anybody was knocking. The lawn in front of our apartment that even yesterday was blanketed in thick sheets of snow now is wiped clean by the wind. It seems heavy wind besides threatening to blow one away does the job of a sweeper at times. In the everlasting quietude of our neighborhood, the constant wailing of the breeze sometimes makes me jump out of my skin for the hissing and whooshing remind me of the sound played in horror movies in the background. A lonely damsel rambling about in a dense forest, lost or perhaps sleepwalking, the rustling of leaves and creaking of twigs or a branch of a tree intensifying the suspense when suddenly a disembodied spirit makes its presence known nearby, very very nearby, almost close to breathing upon her neck.....oooops...I can feel goosebumps surfacing on my skin.
I recall when I was barely a child, about 8-9 years old girl with pigtails; I visited my auntie's place in Agartala with family during summer vacation. There one night I watched the horror movie Evil Dead 1 and after that for nights after nights I used to feel scared of going anywhere alone even to the toilet. At night, squeezed in bed between my parents, I would hold my father tight with eyes shut and bury myself from head to toe under the blanket, inordinately sweating due to the damp humid summer temperature and counting 1 to 10 forward and backwards waiting for sleep to rest on my face. Horror movies used to intrigue me quite a bit during childhood days, the fad continuing even I went to the university but slowly with time I realized the futility of getting unnecessarily scared by watching a slew of horror flicks. I mean what's the point of watching a movie that frightens the wits out of you putting you on edge for several days after the nightfall ? Movies are meant for entertainment, right? No fun out of getting uncalled for fear at the cost of a price.
Back to the recipe, Chicken Spring Roll is one of the favourite snacks of mine I fascinatingly enjoy. I wanted to try it for a while and recently I bumped into a very interesting recipe of the same in a blog called Steamy Kitchen where the blog owner Jaden Hair very beautifully illustrated the recipe step by step. I was thoroughly impressed and I decided to try it. Although I added few spices of my own to jazz it up, but more or less I hewed to the recipe she followed.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chamatkari Kaju Egg Curry

There is a picturesque Maumee Bay State Park overlooking the Lake Erie, a hotspot for tourists seeking for a gateway into an idyllic cove. Hardly 20 minutes distance from our place we visit the place quite often to spend some time in the serenity of nature near the shoreline. After few weeks of frequent snow falling, the lake is now completely frozen with big chunks of solid and slippery blocks of ice sticking out like giant shards of glass from the surface. The monstrosity of the expanse of the Lake Erie is quite forbidding but mesmerizing nevertheless. Many a time I felt the strong urge to climb down on to the lake and click few snaps standing upon the frozen surface but not sure of how much solidified the ice was to carry my weight I dropped the idea, the last thing I wanted ever to slip into a pool of frigid water and die from hypothermia. However, I would like to post some beautiful shots of Lake Erie as captured by hubby for your view:

Chamatkari Kaju Egg Curry as the name coined by my husband refers to an egg curry concocted with cashew nuts adding the base flavour. I love the subtle creaminess and a hint of sweetness a variegated combo of different taste boosting ingredients has incorporated in the dish. It goes awesome with Egg Prawn Fried Rice.