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.
 

















Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Orange Lassi



Summer has set in in Kolkata and my mother was telling me how last night she could not sleep due to the AC not working properly. In Kolkata summer is so terrible with temperature coupled with high humidity conspiring into making life a living hell. In the part of Kolkata my paternal house is located at frequent load shedding makes summer go beyond any tolerance level. There were many a sleepless nights I spent in darkness tossing and turning in my bed waiting for the power to come back, but in typical fashion power remained off for at least 3-4 hours before being restored. I think load shedding is a big problem in any part of India.
 
 

When I thought of powercut being worse in Kolkata, I didn't know of the picture in Bangalore where powercut occurs at intervals of every one or two hours with night load shedding being a common phenomenon. Load shedding in Bangalore was so frequent that within 2 months of our shifting there, the refrigerator along with its compressor gave in to the on and off powercut and voltage fluctuations, making the purchase of an inverter along with a slew of voltage stabilizers a mandatory option. Trust me when I say that due to not being able to sleep for two consecutive nights after a power cable went off in thunderstorm, me and my husband took shelter in a nearby hotel on the third day to have a goodnight's sleep.
 
 

Anyway, just in case if you suffer the same misfortune as mine in dealing with loadshedding on continuity basis and you need some power boost drink to keep your composure, here goes the orange lassi for you. It is refreshing and cold with each slug reviving the lost energy back. Kudos!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cauliflower Paneer Potato Masala




Last few days have been quite busy for me, I couldn't manage any time out for my blog. Infact, there are dozens of recipes in the pipeline but due to time constraint, I am unable to upload them sooner. Anyway, about the following recipe, who doesn't like cauliflower!! I am yet to meet someone who doesn’t. During my childhood when I used to be a picky eater at that time too I simply drooled over cauliflower and my mother would make some nice cauliflower preparations including cauliflower pakoda, Aloo Phulkopir Dalna, Dry Cauliflower Curry and so on and so forth.
This one is, however, not my mother's recipe. I scouted the cyber world in search of good paneer recipes cooked with cauliflower as I had a huge cauliflower resting in the refrigerator for over a week, I came up with some nice paneer cauliflower concoction but none tickled my fancy. So I mixed and matched few ingredients here and there and came up with something suiting my family's taste bud. I know many people who are not fond of curry leaves, in that case drop handful of chopped coriander leaves into the curry for garnishing. The aroma would be simply invigorating!!



 
This curry, according to me, accompanies roti, naan or paratha best but yes, yes you can take it with good old rice too.
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