Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kochu Shaak with Shrimps

Traditionally, kochu shaak is cooked with Ilish macher matha or Hilsa fish head, but another variant of Kochu shaak preparation that is popular among Bengalis is kochu shaak cooked with shrimps. In my maternal home, everyone is gaga for kochu shaak. Though ours was not a traditional joint family, but all the brothers of my father lived next to each other in the same plot. As a result, we grew up as a very close-knit family. Whenever there was something exotic cooked at anyone's home, my aunts or my mother would make sure to share it among each other. Kochu shaak was one such decadence everyone would like to celebrate. Of all the kochu shaak preparations, my mother's one I liked best. She made this dish so tasty that I could eat one plate full of rice only with this dish by my side. It tastes nice with roti too, but I think it tastes its best when accompanied with rice.

Kochu shaak is not available in all the Indian grocery stores here, especially, in the part of USA we are staying now. We searched in every nook and cranny before laying our hands on kochu shaak, some 60 miles away from our place, and so naturally the joy was beyond description. I tried to emulate my mother's version of kochu shaak dish, and it came out really nice. My husband was totally drooling over it.

However, before you go ahead with this preparation, remember to have plenty of time in your hand because this dish calls for an hour or more time of devotion to bring the richness.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chanar Dalna - Paneer Dalna

Yesterday we took our newborn to his first long car ride of approximate 3 and half hours. He has completed two months last Saturday, and taking the liberty of his soon to be out of newborn status, I thought of taking him to a shopping mall in which I had few garments, that I ordered for him, for pick-up. He was calm and quiet throughout the long journey. On our way back, however, as we were approaching our home, he grew a bit impatient letting out an occasional whimper of irritation, but otherwise he just totally cooperated. Though I am not fond of the idea of travelling long distance with a small baby, I have seen people going on international journeys with small kids. I have a friend who came all the way from India to USA with his 3 months old baby all alone, and I know of her experience of hell when my friend could not eat, nap or use the loo throughout the flight as the baby was immensely fussy wailing his heart out . My friend is brave, but I am not. Hence, despite a wonderful summer of USA tempting me to take a trip, with all my friends travelling here and there, reveling in the warmth of such nice weather, I am not at all letting my mind walk in that track. I would like to wait for a while till I know that my son is safe for a long distance trip.

Anyway, Chanar dalna originally is the preparation in which fresh chana i.e the paneer, which is left after the whey water of milk is discarded, is used. Since the process of separating milk from the whey is a bit time-taking process and since I am little short of time these days, readymade paneer is always the best option for me while preparing this dish. So it is up to your discretion whether you want to use fresh paneer or the readymade one.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Aam Kheer - Kheer Mango

Just as I began to feel sad for missing yet another season of mangoes of Bengal cribbing about how the taste of mangoes available in Wal-Mart and Meyer were bland in taste, my husband brought home few Mexican mangoes one day. Now, I really didn't have any idea that Mexican breed of mangoes could be as sweet and ripe as those of Bengal. It was seriously a revelation. Sitting here in USA, if you could lay your tongue on some luscious super juicy mangoes, you would feel yourself to be in seventh heaven and that's exactly how was I like. I ate few of them raw and left the remaining ones to prepare my favorite mango dessert - Aam Kheer.
In the months of summer when the scorching weather outside leaves the mouth dry, one glass full of this kheer with lots of ripe mangoes in would take away every bit of parchedness the tortuous heat has caused.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Gatta Kofta Curry

Two of my newly married friends recently asked me and my husband about our overall experiences on our transformation into parenthood. Though the question did not surprise us a bit knowing that our friends have plans of their own to become parents themselves in the not too distant future, the answer was difficult to be summed up in one line. A lot has changed in our lives since the arrival of our son with us feeling more responsible each passing day, our old nocturnal routine replaced by the one suited to our son's sleep pattern, the once happy-go-lucky carefree souls now feeling tired and sleep deprived at all times but in a queer way, we both are enjoying every moment of our time with our son regardless of all the unusual changes our parental duties call for. When the entire US is basking in the warmth of summer going out on camping, visiting sites, me and my hubby are changing diapers, feeding the baby relentlessly at every 2-3 hours gap, giving him warm bath and massage and trying to take quick power naps in between while our sonny sleeps, but we don't complain as every time spent with him gives us thousand times more joy that any picnic or camping can ever I carefully formed my response as concisely as possible in one line to my friends....'you gotta experience it yourself to feel it as the feeling is unmatched with any other feeling of life you have had so far'. I don't know how far my friends, who are apparently more uptight about the hassle taking care of a baby involves, appreciated my response but I just hope that they got the essence of my message.

Gatta ke Curry is basically a dish very popular in Rajasthan. I first had it here in USA when a Sindhi couple invited us to their home and regaled us with a variety of Indian cuisines. Apparently, the hostess had a passion for cooking, and she invariably experiments with her culinary fancies. Though I never made Gatta ke curry at home, I first thought of giving it a try when recently in a cooking forum on Facebook, someone shared a recipe on Gatta Kofta Curry. I changed some of the ingredients and their quantity according to my requirement but more or less they are kept as close to the original as possible. It turned out really well, so well that I managed to bag a compliment from a guest fastidious about taste.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chicken Hazarvi Kabab

My son has completed one month today. It seems like yesterday that I went to the hospital in labor pain and ground my way through the delivery process. Any mother who has nurtured her young in her womb for 9 months and suffered one of the most excruciating painful experiences of all called labor knows why a child is called the 'bundle of joy' because the exhilaration and satisfaction upon seeing your young one nestled in your chest softly inhaling the first few breaths of fresh air of his or her life is incomparable with the joy of anything else. It is the most beautiful feeling in the world.

My pregnancy had been a smooth one. I was lucky in a way that I never felt nauseous for once and I could eat anything and everything I wanted. Since me and my husband were on our own throughout the pregnancy and delivery period, I was quite nervous about how everything would go, but with the grace of God, everything went smoothly. One of the most important things I have always taken care of is the food I consume. Though I was alone with no one to cook delicacies for me even when I was in the advanced stage of my pregnancy, I always took care not to let my craving go unsated.

It is very important to give your body proper nutrition to have a healthy baby and acquire strength enough not only to push the child out of your womb into the outside world but also to rear him or her up. One of the many things that I gorged on greedily were a variety of kababs as I had huge cravings for kababs during pregnancy. Some kababs I made at home and some I brought from restaurants, but the quality of kababs available in nearby restaurants were no match with what we get back home. In fact, some restaurants kababs were very chewy and dry in texture. Hence more than often I preferred to prepare my kababs at home only. The recipe below is one of such kababs I happened to cook quite frequently. The original recipe belongs to Sanjeev Kapoor but I replaced some ingredients according to my own convenience.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

White Chicken

With great pleasure I would like to share the joy of the addition of a new member in our family with the readers of my blog - our son Debarpan born on 5th May this year. His arrival has changed our lives completely, for the better. Though in the absence of any helping hand at home, managing everything on my own is stressful, everything gets made up for when I get to see the adorable face of my newborn. My parents were supposed to come from India to give me support nursing my kid but at the last moment my father fell sick and their trip had to be cancelled. First few days after I came back home from the hospital with the newborn were quite challenging for both me and my husband, but with a bit of planning and mutual cooperation with each other, we are pulling through this phase seamlessly so far. We both are savoring every moment of our time with our son. It is pure bliss!!


The recipe that I am going to share today is a tried and tested recipe of a chicken preparation one of my friends recently shared on her Facebook wall. As these days I am trying to be frugal in my consumption of spices as my baby breastfeeds, I take a liking to this recipe because it is less spicy. I tried it at home recently and the outcome panned out to be fantastic. It will earn brownie points with those fond of less spicy dishes as it did with me. Happy eating!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Aloo Tamator - Alu Tomato Curry

House of Cards (Season 2) has come back with a bang with Kevin Spacey once again charming us as cunning hard-hearted Congressman Frank Underwood. I think after 'Breaking Bad' and 'Game of Thrones', House of Cards is one show that I had been waiting earnestly to reappear on air. The fun of watching the show increased manifold with an awesome platter of food accompanying on dinner. Though this delicacy was meant to be devoured at breakfast, but these days I am not used to taking heavy breakfast and so it made its way into our dinner table. I have posted the recipe of Achari puri in my earlier post and this one is the curry I had the puri with. Made in typical South Indian fashion, every morsel of this beauty was pure bliss. Hope you all will enjoy it.

Achari Puri

Now I have not been very dedicated to updating my blog for last few months. I am extremely apologetic for that. But the good thing is as I was away in self-imposed hibernation, the number of hits per page of my blog kept increasing steadily, something I didn't expect really. I thought the infrequency in making posts would result in a decrease in the number of my blog followers and members of my blog, but that didn't happen really, and I am really grateful for that to all of you for supporting me and not leaving my side.

If you know the real reason for my absence, perhaps you would become less offended with me. Well, I am into the advanced stage of my pregnancy and while juggling with a freelancing job plus the teeny weeny bit of discomfort the little one is causing me, I am in a state of extreme laziness, a vice that I think plagues every pregnant woman as her tummy grows voluminous. With no helping hand here in USA where you have to do everything on your own, things are not always easy for pregnant women. Anyway, that's some story of pain I don't want to trouble you with. So better get down with the recipe in hand. This is an interesting piece of recipe I collected from a Facebook webpage. This puri tastes heavenly with any potato curry of your choice, but I specifically had it with Alu TomatoCurry. It was a magical combo.