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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Multigrain Laddu - Happy Vijayadashmi and Shubho Bijoya

 Festivity invokes myriad feelings. The feelings which takes you back to growing up years, recalling the food, laughter and joy shared with friends and family. Even though, we are in midst of a Covid pandemic, the surroundings around us have become somewhat pleasing with beautiful fall colors. Besides that, it brings much relief to us these days, amidst the chaos, we sometimes observe around the globe happening in present time.



And autumn coincides with Dussehra, Bijoyadashmi and Kojagori Lakhsmi pujo, Halloween and then, soon festival of lights- Deepawali. Autumn season imparts a lovely sense of calmness and a festive spirit. May the festive spirit linger on to give us courage and strength to carry on our daily life.

These days, we are mostly confided to home as social gathering is restricted or we have left with limited options, either with morning walks in local parks, occasional local super-market rounds and compulsory school days over here. 



‘Sharadoutsav’ had started couple of days ago and a Bengali in me, was yearning for that ‘Pujo- Pujo’ feeling. So, we caught up with Live telecast of Durga Puja at Belur Math, Kolkata. We missed the Pujo buzz surrounding Pujo pandals this year just like many of you. So, we tried to recreate the atmosphere with home-made Bhog er khichuri, labda and tomato chutney and offered Pushpanjali in home listening to Mantra chanting by Priest, of course there are many videos on YouTube,which came to our aide and also caught up with some other old telecast of local “Sarbojonin” Durga Puja as well. This created a magnificent ambience for us -It says “Something is better than nothing.”. 

Let’s keep our traditions alive in our hearts and try to adjust and live with our ‘new normal’ as of now.



Moving on to our recipe of Multigrain laddus’, I have made these laddus on Shashti and these turned out moist and delicious. I have made whole Wheat Laddus  and Boondi Laddu earlier as well. These laddos are much more flavorful with multigrain. Multigrain atta is easily available everywhere these days, so no need to dry grind all grains in home. This flour mixture of grains had-Oats, Wheat, Maize, Quinoa, Channa, Spelt and Soya. Please read labels if you are allergic to any ingredients before making these laddos. You can create your own version of multigrain flour as well. You need a heavy-duty grinder/mixer for that purpose. 

Now to the recipe.

Multigrain Laddus

Recipe requirements (Makes approx- 16)

  • 3-4 cups of multigrain atta/flour
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar 
  • ¾ cup of desi ghee
  • 4-5 cardamom pods




Method

  • Put a deep pan on flame. Add 2-3 tbs of ghee to it. Add multigrain flour and roast them for 10-15 mints at medium-low flame, stirring in between.
  • Add in sugar and mix well. Add in freshly crushed cardamoms. You can use cardamom powder as well.
  • Add ghee slowly and keep mixing. When all the ghee is poured into the flour sugar mixture. Keep stirring, till it starts to collect well.
  • Stop stirring and take it off. Let it cool a bit.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water. Start shaping laddus with some portions. I have made approx. 16 laddos with this much of quantity.
  • Store in cool and dry place. Stays fresh for 3-4 days. Further, if required after 4 days, please put them in refrigerator.


Enjoy festivity and wish you all a very Happy Dussehra and Shubho Bijoya.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Cod Fish Fry with Harissa

I wrote my first blog post in 2006 and it never occurred to me that I am inviting myself for a whole new experience. I thought it was more of a fluke for me at that time and other recipe posts written thereafter. For me, it was like a toy given to pacify a child. I was super excited that there is something called ‘Blogspot' and where I can write my ramblings and share recipes. This also happened in a spur of moment, never planned it and still it remains the same, even after fourteen years. God! its fourteen years in food blogging world. In between all these years, food blogging procedure has changed and so is the norm now. It has shifted its base readers to Instagram and other social platforms, but I being a stubborn, continued food blogging here.



Initial years, it was exciting to know about number of people subscribing to this blog. But now the initial euphoria has subsided, almost like gone with a wind. I have let go of the urge of updating the blog routinely and strictly also. When I feel like I need to write a post, then only I update. I know many of you who are regulars here may feel disappointed. There lies a virtual world and a real world and many go on to balance it well and few can’t. I will add another name in the last ‘few’. Well who else? The author herself!!

Let me write a thank you note starting from my sabziwali to dudhwala to machiwala, who made their contributions in their own way. After all what is a food blog, if I don’t mention them for providing me with their supply of choicest of fresh vegetables, fish and poultry. All that which looks good in pictures in this blog, should taste good as well, otherwise there is no point being a food blogger, well at least for me. I should also thank my readers who find some sort of familiarity when they visit here and try out recipes,or many can relate to the ramblings written over recipe posts. The intention is to have rough estimations and precise procedure for that particular recipe.

Thank you readers for being part of this fourteen years journey with me!!

Food has been integral part of many cultures, actually whole gamut of cultural revolution happened due to food – either its shortage or its availability. Spice routes were created to discover hidden treasure islands, from Columbus to Vasco Da Gama who explored sea routes to mysterious countries where spices can be found in abundant. And to discovery of Balti cuisine in a country known for eating mashed potatoes, Sunday roast and fish fry. Who would have thought our very own ‘Topse Mach Bhaja’ can be competing with deep fried Cod dressed in flour beer batter. Well dressing really makes the difference, isn’t? A Bengali Bhadra Lok Dhoti Clad and an English gentleman, both can devour their versions of fish fry in seconds. Last part is a bit exaggeration. But guess what, fish fry remained staple for both of them. Here comes a new version for this staple fish fry recipe.

Cod fish pairing up with North African spice blend ‘Harissa’ wrapped in flour beer batter.….err. I mean to say Cod fish fry with Harissa in Besan batter. When East meet West and they together meet South. The concoction formulates a perfect formula for a delicious fish fry. There you go now, north African can also join in to our cultural revolution. Presenting Cod fish fry with Harissa.

I have used store brought Harissa spice blend as its easily available in many super stores over here. World is a global village now, think Harissa spice blend is readily available in India as well.

Now to the recipe 

 


Cod Fish Fry with Harissa spice

Recipe requirements (serves 2-3)

  • Cod fish Fillets 200-250 gms (approx.)
  • 3 heaped tsp of Harissa powder
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ cup of Besan/ Bengal gram flour
  • 1 tsp of harissa powder
  • ½ tsp of garlic powder
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 2-3 tbs of cooking oil

Method

  • Clean Cod fish fillets. Pat them dry with kitchen towels. Marinate them with harissa spice powder and salt.Keep aside for about an hour.
  • In a separate flat plate – mix besan, garlic powder, salt and more harissa powder. Clean hands with soap and water. You can make a wet batter as well with water. Then you will need water and more oil to deep fry them. This recipe relies mainly on coating the cod fish fillet with Besan, enough to hold the dry spices.
  • Now coat the Cod fish fillet with this besan+ harissa powder mixture. Leave aside for about half an hour.
  • Again, coat well the fish fillet with besan mixture by pressing gently with hands. This double coating seals the moisture on Cod fish fillets.
  • Put a sauté pan ( non-stick ) on heat. Add in cooking oil.
  • Add in marinating and well-coated Cod fish fillets, frying for 3-4 mints each side at medium flame.
  • Take out and serve.Tip- Other firm fish- like Haddock and Sea Bass fish fillet can also be used with Harissa.

Happy Cooking Friends!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Turkey Meatballs and Mushroom Rice Pilaf- Kofte and Mushroom Pulao

 We have been witnessing obnoxious level of summer heat in UK, with past couple of days being extremely hot. This reminded me of Indian summer and the only respite, I can think of is torrential rain showers. The rumbling clouds came hovering on few evenings and played their part in bringing down the temperature momentarily, only to disappoint us again with rising temperature next day. Wednesday being one of the hottest day of this summer season. The scorching heat has made everyone feel the heat, even the trees, birds and bees are not spared.

This is another effect of climate change and we need to adjust with it along with Covid. This virus has made us all chaotic and going restless, claiming victims with immense suffering and with economy taking a plunging fall across globe.Among all these, there is a place where we may find some solace, to each to their own. Please keep doing those things which brings mental diversion from negativity happening around us.In this pandemic era, we need to hold on to our patience level and act with caution. Keep safe and follow local guidelines where ever you are placed in the world. 

Yesterday evening, it was a welcome change with heavy rainfall leaving a pleasant relief from humidity and scorching heat.” Sawan” or monsoon is a special season in India, rain itself evokes so many emotions. Food and poetry have been integral part of Monsoon season in India. 

I just happened to listen to these “Thumri”- Jamuna Kinare Mora Gaon and "Kajri" Sawan Ki Ritu to replicate the same ambiance from back home. The pitter-patter of raindrops on window panes amidst rumbling clouds and these heart wrenching Thumri Gayaki enthralled the night for me. After this soul music, it is now time for some soul food as well.


 Now let’s talk about the recipe

I have made these turkey meatballs a fortnight ago. These meatballs are regular in our food menu. We make spaghetti with meatballs with them often. I have used them to make Kofte curry as well. So, you can guess its versatile nature and its very adaptive. You can even stuff them in Pita and serve with hummus as well.

I have made kofte and mushroom pulao this time. I sometimes add whatever vegetables I have in my pantry to make pulao even more filling and nutritious.These meatballs freeze well. You can make big batches and freeze them in freezer. These stays fresh for about a month. I won’t recommend using them after a month as its home-made with no preservatives. There are many other possibilities with these turkey meatballs.

I have used Turkey mince, but you can replace it with other red meat mince. 

Now to the recipe

Baked Meatball and Mushroom Rice Pilaf- Kofte and mushroom Pulao

For Meatballs/Kofte (Baked)

Recipe requirements (Makes 18-20)

 Turkey mince – 750 gms

2-3 tsp of tandoori masala

1 tsp of coriander powder

2 tsp of red pepper powder

2 tsp of freshly crushed whole black pepper

1 tsp of garam masala

1 tsp of salt

2-3 tsp of fresh lemon juice

¼ cup of Besan/ Bengal gram flour

2-3 tsp of cooking oil

Method

Take out turkey mince from the packet in a big mixing bowl. Clean it with running water, but do not break the mince slab while cleaning. It will be nice if you can squeeze out excess water from it once you have cleaned the mince. Pat dry with kitchen towel to soak up extra moisture.

Add in tandoori masala, coriander powder, red pepper powder, garam masala, and freshly crushed black pepper and salt as per taste.

Add in lemon juice to the mince. Add in besan and cooking oil.

Now with clean hands, mix all very well. Keep on kneading just like you would do for making atta dough. When it starts to collect well and no sticky, the mixture is ready. If required, you may add some more oil.

Cover the mince mixture and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Preheat an oven at 175 deg C.

Line up a baking tray with foil.

Divide the mixture into equal parts. I ended up making about 18-19 turkey mince balls out of it.

Bake in for about 25-30 mints. Take out and let it cool.

This will be added later into Pulao.

It can be refrigerated also for future use.


 Pulao - Rice Pilaf

Recipe requirements (serves 2-3)

1 large cup of long grain Basmati rice

2 cups of chopped mushroom

3-4 tsp of biryani masala – refer this recipe

1 tsp of red pepper powder

4 tsp of rose water

3-4 tsp of ghee

 3-4 tsp of cooking oil

2 tsp of grated ginger and garlic paste

1 large onion finely chopped

3-4 green cardamom

2-3 black cardamom

 ½ inch cinnamon

2 tsp of whole black pepper

1 tsp of salt

Method

In a big pot, cook rice with ample water till they are ¾ done. Just like al Dente as in pasta. Drain the starch. Add in ghee and 2 tsp of biryani masala powder and slowly fluff with a spoon.

Now in a big wok or a pot, add in cooking oil. Temper the oil with freshly crushed cardamom, cinnamon and whole black pepper.

Add in grated ginger and garlic and finely chopped onions. Fry them well for about 4-5 mints, till a nice aroma hits your nose.

Add in dry spice powders- rest of biryani masala, red pepper and salt. Mix well. Sprinkle bit of water.

Now add in baked meatballs and chopped mushrooms and coat with spices well.

Now add in cooked rice in that pot, mixing slowly, making sure Kofte don’t break out.

Sprinkle rose water all over it.

Cover the pan and cook at low flame (at Dum) for about 8-10 mints.

Take it off and let the rice pilaf/pulao sit in for about 1-2 hrs.

Serve with boiled egg and raita. Enjoy.

Other Kofta recipes from this blog

Kale leaves Kofta curry

Green Banana Kofta Curry

Lauki Kofta Curry

Keema Kofta Curry

 Let me also wish my fellow countrymen a very Happy Independence Day in advance.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Garlic and Coriander Prawns

We are facing unprecedented time with a pandemic. Covid-19 pandemic is teaching us all to be more understanding, accommodating and kind to each other. These days, while we all are in lockdown/homebound in some or other way or may be self-isolating, I would like to assume that staying in home can be daunting, if not easy for you all. It becomes tiring amidst juggling office and kid’s school work from home, care giving to children and elders and top of that cooking, cleaning and doing all home chores. But let me remind you the blessings; we have home, food on table and this accounts for being humble and thankful to almighty.

The amount of social media interactions that am seeing these days is enormous. Meanwhile, I do understand that you all are trying to keep up with each other through various social media accounts or video calling etc., but sometimes this itself may lead to stress and anxiety with so many varied points of views, information and social media posts.

If you don’t feel comfortable regarding reliability of some information, you don’t need to share it or forward it to others. If you don’t feel like interacting with many friends or well-wishers, then you don’t have to and it’s not compulsory. Interactions should be a pleasure rather than a chore.

It’s absolutely fine if you find solace in painting or reading a book or going for a walk or going for a Jog or exercising or meditating, but still you don’t feel like updating every damn details of your personal life on social media accounts. You don’t need validations from outside. The stimulus should reside within you. It should start within you. Anyhow, do things which suits your pace and interests and enjoy as it is. On a hopeful note, things will improve and you all will have varied stories to tell or recall later on.

I have been listening to these two Indian bands and have liked their work. The Local Train and Desert Rock and found they have those 80’s rock vibes. Another artist that caught my attention during this time is Yiruma -his Piano work leaves me spellbound.

Now to my cooking, I have cooked many dishes, but just didn’t feel like updating it here. I have made these garlic prawns many moons ago and it turned out great.

These garlic and coriander prawns are great as sides. They can be part of an appetizer menu as well. A well-balanced blend of spices and delectable prawns are ready. Now to the recipe

Garlic and Coriander Prawns 

Recipe requirements (serves 2-3)

Prawns- 200 gms

½ tsp of turmeric powder

1 tsp of red pepper powder

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp of dried coriander leaves or ½ cup of freshly chopped leaves

½ tsp of salt

2-3 tbs of cooking oil

Method

Clean and devein prawns. Marinate them with turmeric powder and salt.

In a small bowl, mix in red pepper powder+garlic powder+dried coriander leaves with 1 -2 tsp of water.

Put a sauté pan on heat. Add in cooking oil.

Add in marinating prawns and the masala paste frying for 1-2 mints at med-low.

Cover and let it cook for 6-7 mints at medium flame. Take out and serve.

Happy Cooking Friends and have a relaxing weekend.Take precautions while going out and stay safe everyone.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Malpoas and Happy Holi



Festivals invokes nostalgia and memories. Holi/Doul Poornima was much awaited in our home. While growing up, I liked the dry colors or ‘Phag’ in Hindi, as Holi falls under Phagun month according to Hindu calendar. I was never a fan of wet Holi and in secondary school, I almost stopped playing with colours. Don’t take me wrong, I like colors, in fact I adore colors, but when it comes to playing with wet colors, I shy away. Anyways, I always liked Phag and those varied colors of phag sold in small packets- red, yellow, green and orange. When splashed in to the air, smell of Phag intoxicated many minds and souls. Those days phag used to have a sweet aroma, or may be my olfactory nerves were much active then. I could smell that beautiful aroma of Phag.One whiff and the entire mind used to get intoxicated with joy and happiness that surrounded those celebrations on every Holi Mornings.
As the day progressed, I would peek inside kitchen to see what is being cooked there. My mother used to make Gujia, namkeen, Dahi vada etc. on every Holi. Sometimes, I would see her make these ‘Bhaja Malpoas’ as well. I also recalled, once we went to meet up our school teacher in the evening. I was in junior school at that time. I would call her madam A, as she reminds me of a famous Hindi poetess. Both share same name. Madam A, was earnestly making fresh batches of ‘bhaja malpoas’ for her school kids and was serving them warm as well. Those days teacher-student relationships were very cordial and they were almost like our guardians. The joy and satisfaction on my mother’s face and my teacher Madam A’s face is incomparable. These ladies have different aura about themselves.


I have tried to re-create those same ‘bhaja malpoas’ in my kitchen as well. I don’t know if this is something to preserve traditions, or remembering and acknowledging my mother’s and Madam A’s contributions in shaping my future and developing memories, but I like to make them once in a while during festivals.
These Bhaja Malpoas makes me feel the comfort of that bygone era. Festivals indeed invokes feelings and nostalgia. Before I jump to recipe, Wishing everyone a very Happy Holi, Doul Poornima.
This is how I made Bhaja Malpoas.

Bhaja Malpoa/ Mini fried pancake
Recipe requirements
  • 1 cup of self-rising flour/Maida
  • 1 cup of roasted semolina/Sooji
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 3-4 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 cup of milk or as required to make the batter
  • 2 cups of cooking oil
  •  2-3 saffron strands (optional)



Method
  • In a big mixing bowl, mix in semolina and self-rising flour. The proportions, I generally take equal in quantity.1:1 for semolina and self-rising flour. If you don’t get self-rising flour, use plain flour but add in about a tsp of baking powder.
  • In a mortal and pestle, coarsely crush fennel seeds.
  • Now add in fennel seeds and sugar to the above. Add whole milk slowly and mixing through, make sure there are no lumps.Add saffron strands if you wish to add.
  •  Make a smooth batter not too thick and not too thin, just like a pancake batter, easy to drop in consistency.
  • Now in a deep bottomed pan, add in cooking oil. Let it heat up.
  • Take about a heaped table spoon of the batter and slowly drop into the hot cooking oil. Let it deep fry for a while. Take them out and drain over kitchen towel.
  • This much of the batter made approx. 20-22 medium size malpoas.
  • Unlike other malpoa which is khoya based and dipped in sugar syrup, these 'Bhaja Malpoas' are very crunchy when relished warm and hot.
  • Store in air tight container stays fresh for 3-4 days.



Happy Cooking Friends and Wishing Everyone - Happy Holi !!