Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chingri diye Chal kumro - ash-gourd with shrimp stir/fry - and it's 10 years of food-blogging

This blog turned 10 years old. Yes that’s a long time. I have planned to write a big senti-post with elaborate made-ups, emojis and what-not. But here I am, with my flaws, loss with words and ………

When I started taking baby steps, I never knew this could be shaping up something like this today. I needed to write, needed to write down my experiments in my small apartment kitchen like a mad scientist working endlessly, in their laboratory, except those laboratory products were being tasted by and tested on real people – aka my dear Husband and my dear daughter. Well what else can they do?

  I think (or rather I pretend to think- whatever is the case), they have also accepted this mad scientist/aka cook with her flaws and that she will continue experimenting things with them. Now, even they have started giving me instructions, ways to improve a recipe. We have healthy discussions about recipes on our dining table and the conversation even revolves around the spice –level and the levels at which vegetables are stir/fried/charred/burnt. We sometimes even discuss the need of ‘jeerey phoron’ over ‘panch phoron’ and vice-versa. Sorry politics and ‘gyan –wardhak- batein ‘, please find some other dinner table.
One fine day, dear daughter was calling me fanatically, and I thought it must be those days, where she has to vent out her feelings. ‘Ma you should see this!!  …..And I asked what? …..Hey! Your blog is on google search and that too on first page. Do you really know what it means…..and I was rolling my eyes, what it meant, trying to recall – and I gave a blank stare to her.…..probably she understood (after that day, she is on a reading spree- reading all those old posts from the beginning. I wonder how she feels, where she is mentioned or I have written about her. I need to ask her someday that too…….)
10 years can do that too (can make you go blank sometimes) ……it’s a long time …..Well food –blogging, is now a profession these days, as this is what I last heard about. I have seen a paradigm shift in this field- from hobby to making it a profession. I don’t know what should I say about that- but if that makes a difference to you. I now do tell, 'real –life' people or friends that I have a food-blog which some 3-4 years ago I couldn’t think or speak-out.

But yes, there are people, who still visit this food-blog, spend time accessing recipes and perhaps do make them in their kitchen. Some even find time to write me back and appreciate for sharing recipes with them,or drop a comment. Some even ask questions about recipes, some even criticize, and some are silent readers-they come, they read and I do think they try making recipes from here as well. 

Well, to all of you, thanks a lot for making ‘spice and curry’ a part for your life, a tiny place where you like to hang around and feel like it’s your home. Well that is what this food-blog is all about. Thank you for visiting and checking recipes here, making it a million-hits- food-blog.

Without you reader(s) this blog is incomplete. Hopefully, I will keep writing more recipes, but you have to promise me as well, that you will keep visiting us as well. 

Thank you for being with me all these 10 years of food-blogging!!!

Today I am sharing a very Bengali recipe- Chingri diye chal kumro- ash gourd with shrimp and coconut stir/fry. After all those blabbering above, I think I will spare you from more torture, and will write the recipe.

Here is how I made it 

Chingri diye chal kumro r torkari/ Shrimp and potato with coconut stir/fry

Recipe requirements- ( serves3-4 people)

1 medium size ash gourds
 300 Gms of shrimps- cleaned and deveined
2 medium size potatoes
 1 medium tomatoes chopped or 8-10 ripened cherry tomatoes slit in between
3-4 red bird eye chilies/Thai chilies
 1 and ½ tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of turmeric powder
Salt as per taste
For tempering
1 tsp of cumin seeds
2 dry red chillies
5-6 tbs of cooking oil/mustard oil


Clean and cut ash gourd, potatoes in to long juliennes, little bit thicker.
Clean shrimps- deshell them and devein them. Marinate with turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside for 10 mints.
Heat up a fry pan, add 1tbs of mustard oil, and stir fry the shrimps for 4-5 mints. Take out and reserve to use up later in the stir/fry preparation.
Heat up a fry pan/wok/kadai, Add in rest of the cooking oil to it, add cumin seeds, dry red pepper, and let it splutter.
Stir/fry it for 1-2 mints at med-high flame.
Add in ash gourd and potatoes pieces/juliennes.
Add in red chilly slit in between and finely chopped tomato pieces.( you can add grated coconut as well.)
Add in all the dry spices- turmeric powder+red pepper powder+salt in a cup of water, mix it well.
Add this spices mixture to the above fried mix and keep on stir/fry for about 3-4 mints.
Let it cook for 10-12 mints at medium-low flame or till the potatoes turn soft. At this time add in fried spicy shrimp to above and mix it well. Take out and it’s ready to be eaten.

Serve and enjoy with warm cooked rice.

Happy Cooking friends and 

Thanks you for stopping by here and spending time with me all these 10 years of food-blogging !!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Shorshe Bhapa Bhetki/Siakap- Steamed Siakap with mustard seeds paste and Shubho Bijoya

How time is slowly slipping away from our hands like sand, the more I try to hold it tightly, it starts slipping away harder. Well this is time for you, and it never stops for anyone, it moves because it has to move, for that is what it's purpose is.
Past couple of days were spent in euphoria. Well after moving here in KL, I thought maybe, I will miss Durga Ma ‘darshon’, but here, I am again put wrong. Bengalis are everywhere, even in Kuala Lumpur. So, there is Malaysia Bengali association as well. I went, I saw and I was conquered. I was conquered with the ageless beauty of Ma Durga, her divine face and her aura.

We have now some great memories of Durga Puja in KL. We did our ‘pushpanjali’, had bhog, and saw ‘Sandhi Puja’, heard ‘Dhaak’ and saw ‘Dhunuchi’ dance as well. All things which makes Durga Puja so beautiful and festive. And, we were mesmerised with the ambience. OH! And not to forget – tried food made by local Bengali ladies as well in ‘Anando Mela’.

And since yesterday was Bijoya Dashami, the culmination of 9 days Navaratri festival, specifically last 4-5 days. Here wishing everyone shubho Vijayadashami, shubho Bijoya.

I have a fish recipe post today, and no sweet recipe this time.Shorshe bhapa Bhetki/Siakap/Barramundi, and this remains one of our favourite ways of making bhapa Mach aka steamed fish. Here is how we made it

Shorshe bhapa Bhetki /Siakap – Steamed Siakap with mustard seed paste

Recipe requirements- serves 3 people

 1 whole bhetki/siakap –cleaned and gutted – cut into 3 pieces
2 garlic cloves
6-8 red bird eye chilies/Thai chilies
2-4 tbs of brown mustard seeds
 1 tbs of cumin seeds
 1 tsp of red pepper powder
½ tsp of turmeric powder
 For marinating fish
¾ tsp of turmeric powder
Salt as per taste
3-4 tbs of mustard oil
  1 tsp of Salt or as per taste

Clean siakap/bhetki fish pieces well in water. Marinate them with turmeric powder and salt and keep aside for about half an hour.
Fry the fish pieces lightly, just to get rid of the raw smell.
Soak mustard seeds for 1-2 hrs in water. After that grind them to make a paste with salt, cumin seeds, garlic and 3-4 Thai red chillies. You can use any other chilies as well.
Add in all the dry spices- turmeric powder+red pepper powder+salt in a cup of water, mix it well.
Add in mustard oil to the above spices mixture. Mix mustard paste with this spice mixture.
Prepare steel box which you will be using for steaming. Pour spice mixture with mustard paste and place fish pieces inside it.Cover it and put the box for steaming in a vessel filled with water. Steam cook it for 45-50 mints at medium flame.
Otherwise you can use electrical steamer. Steam cook the above for about 40-45 mints. I have used electrical steamer for the purpose. The timing can vary, please check your brand’s manual for fish cooking time.

Serve and enjoy with warm cooked rice.

Shubho Bijoya everyone.
Wish you all a very happy Dusehrah.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Chorchori and Sharodiya Shubecha

Autumn, this is that time of the year again. Every Bengali knows what it means, and how much importance it has in their respective lives. Some have nostalgic memories associated with it and some will continue making fresh memories with each passing autumn season. ‘Sharadoutsav’ is again reckoning from tomorrow with Shashti, the onset of Sharad kalin or Ashwin month Durga Puja according to Hindu calender. And with Durga Puja , a series of other festivals lining up now.

Puja invokes mixed feeling for me, makes me feel home-sick and happy as well. Although where ever we go, we find many places where we can get a glimpse of Ma Durga and absorb in Puja atmosphere. 
We do hope we can do this year as well. These 4-5 days, means – eating, cooking and more eating, get-together, outings and celebrating.
I have prepared a list of recipes for these special occasion.Yes most of them are Bengali recipes.You can have a look - here and an old post about Puja ramblings.

You all enjoy and have a wonderful Durga Puja holidays.

Today I have a chorchori recipe post with Ranga Aloo.Chorchori as it says, need no introduction. All you need is vegetables and stir/fry them and the vegetable medley is ready. This is eaten as first course. Here is how we made it ……..

Chorchori with Ranga aloo
Recipe requirements (serves 2-3 people)
2-3 sweet potato
2 medium size carrots
1-2 Cauliflower stalks
 2-3 medium size round brinjals
 1 medium size bitter gourd
1 medium size potatoes
 ½ tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red pepper powder
 1tsp of freshly grounded coriander powder
Salt as per taste
 2 pinches of sugar
For tempering
1 tsp of panch phoron
2 dry red chillies
5-6 tbs of cooking oil/mustard oil

Clean and cut potatoes, sweet potato, brinjals and carrots in to cubes.
Cut bitter gourd into cubes and marinate them with turmeric powder+ salt. Set aside in a separate plate.
If you are using vegetables stalks, like cauliflower, scrape the outer layer and then chop it into cubes. You can use other vegetable stalks as well cabbage, spinach or other green leafy vegetable stalks.
Heat up a fry pan/wok/kadai, Add in few tsp of cooking oil to it, stir/fry bitter gourd pieces for 3-4 mints at med-high flame, take out and keep aside.
Add in more oil and add panch phoron , dry red pepper, let it splutter.
Stir/fry it for 1-2 mints at med-high flame.
Add in carrots, vegetable stalks, sweet potatoes and potatoes pieces. Add brinjals pieces at the end.
In a small bowl  mix in all the dry spices- turmeric powder+red pepper powder+coriander powder +salt with bit of water and  mix it well.
Add this spices mixture to the above fried mix and keep on stir/fry for about 3-4 mints.
Now add in fried bitter gourd pieces and mix well. Splash some water over the stir/fried vegetables so that it doesn’t stick at the bottom.
Cover and let it cook further for about 8-12 mints or till the vegetables turn soft.
Serve and enjoy with warm cooked rice.

Happy Cooking Friends 

Shobayi ke Sharodiya Shubecha and Preeti .....Happy Durga Puja

Friday, September 30, 2016

Singapore style Beehun/Bihun/Angel hair rice Vermicelli - Fried rice vermicelli with Tofu and Bok Choy

When we were kids, we sometimes used to lie down on green grass and watched the clouds floats by. We still do like it, even we are way past our childhood days, but with time crunch, it’s not something very frequent these days. Some will say huh! Who does that, kids not grown-ups like us, to that I would say it’s good to be a kid sometimes, to recall back all the innocence that we have lost in this maddening world of materialistic values.

When I see kids these days, hooked on to social media, and connecting with friends through smart-phones, I feel, as if we are somehow losing it out to technology, where is that innocence these days? And the problem is either you are in, or completely out, and with tremendous amount of peer pressure to fit in. Not all diagrams point to circles, some can be square as well. Then why put things into symmetric pigeon –holes.
Not all silly things makes us silly, you silly! …That’s what, my Ma told me once. And I couldn’t apprehend what she meant with that. Now that, I am myself a mother, I know what she meant.
We still catch up our cloud floating sessions sometimes, in spite of hectic schedules. Let’s see how long we will be able to do things like this in coming future as well.

Fried bihun, I happened to taste it for first time when one of my Malaysian friend in London made it for me, and with shrimps, we really liked the taste. The thin rice vermicelli soaked the flavours of soya sauce well and prawns were juicy, and soft. The noodles were light and flavourful.
Bihun/beehun is rice vermicelli in Malaysia, so when I tasted Singapore style Bihun in one of our local restaurant here, I thought to make it again in comfy of my home. As of now, I don’t think Singapore style noodles is popular in Singapore itself. But there, most of them know it as Fried Bihun/Beehun or fried rice vermicelli.
Well this is a great accompaniment with all sorts of curries and other sautéed vegetables. This is how we like to make it.
Singapore style Beehun/Bihun – Fried rice vermicelli with Tofu and Bok Choy

Recipe requirements (Serves 2-3)
150-200 g of thin rice vermicelli /Beehun/Bihun/angel hair vermicelli
3-4 tbs of cooking oil
2-3 garlic pods
1 medium size onion
300 gms of firm tofu cut into cubes
2-3 Bok choy bundles or about 8-10 small Bok Choy
1 medium size carrots
 3-4 Thai red chillies slit in between
2 free range eggs (optional)
6-7 fried shrimps (optional)
For the sauce
2-3 tsp of thick soya sauce
 1tsp of light soya sauce
2-3 tsp of hot chilli sauce
Salt as per taste
Soak rice vermicelli or also known as bee hun/ bihun in water for about 20 mints or till they turn soft.
Chop and cut all the vegetables finely preferably in thin juliennes.
Now add in 2 tbs of cooking oil in a fry pan, add in eggs and fry well. Take them out in a separate plate.
Now add in reserved bit of cooking oil and stir/fry garlic and then onions.
Now add rest of the chopped vegetables- carrots,chilies,  bok choy etc.
In a mixing bowl- mix in hot chilies sauce and soya sauce and salt.
Now add this sauce to the above fried mixture of vegetables.
Add in soaked  and soft bihun/rice vermicelli.
Mix in with a spatula gently and garnish with fried eggs or shrimps.You can substitute Tofu with paneer cubes.
Singapore style bihun is ready to be served.

Today is Shubh Mahalaya , after this Navaratri starts.

Wish you all Shubh Mahalaya and Festive greetings.