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Tuesday, December 5, 2006


Bharwan Shimla Mirch (Stuffed Bell Peppers)





Capsicum /Shimla Mirch(Capsicum annum) belongs to Solanaceae family(Eggplant/tomato family or Night -shade family) , commonly known as bell peppers , they are used in salads , stir/fry , salsas , stews, soups and curries also .Bell peppers come in so attractive colours red ,orange,yellow are all riped and are sweet in taste more , and green is unriped variety .

They are known to be first grown in South America , and then gain popularity in other parts of world .Rich source of Vitamin C & D, Red peppers contain Lycopene and B –carotene both useful for better eye-sight They also contain Vit B6 and Folic Acid (Red and Orange) useful in reducing the risk of cardio-vascular diseases.

While buying look for the skin to be blemish free ,deep colours and skin intact , they should feel heavy for their size , the stem should be fresh and green .The peak season is July to November , but now , these are available throughout the year, Check your Local grocery stores and Farmers Market for the Organic Variety also .They are paired finely with Tomatoes,Potatoes ,squash ,garlic and onions ..all goes well into curry. They are heavily used in Pizza and Mexican Salsas , like Soffrito etc...

They can be refrigerated easily ,blanching not required , but whole and intact bell peppers freezes well , as there is not much air that is able to go inside it.. here is the recipe for baked Shimla Mirch or Bharwan Shimla Mirch .

Recipe Requirements
~2 large green bell pepper
~3-4 cloves garlic chopped
~1 inch ginger chopped

~1 Onion
~some cashews/pine nuts
~some raisins
~1 tbs of red pepper powder
~½ tbs corriander powder
~½ tbs cumin powder

~ 1tbs of Mc Cormick garlic pepper seasoning (California style)
~2 Large Boiled potatoes


Method
~Heat oil and fry the onions/garlic/ginger for some 5 mints at low , add the dry seasoning .
~Add the tomatoes and fry for some more times , when the oil seems to come out of the sides , stop it cooking .
~Mash the potatoes with spoon while hot and add the prepared masala to the mashed potatoes ,add salt as per taste ..add cashews and raisins.
~Preheat the oven at 350 F( 175 deg C )

~Meanwhile cut an incision at the top and cut the cap and stem take out the seeds with spoon or better feel free to use your hands and stuff the potato mixture to the bell pepper with a spoon .

~Now in a cassorole dish , spread tomato sauce (can use jarred pasta sauce also), place the stuffed bell pepper over it and bake it for 50 mints flipping the side in between ,cook till a brown crust develops over the bell pepper .
~At the final 5 mints sprinkle some shredded cheese ( I use cheddar cheese, can use Mozzerella also) and bake it for just 2 mints till it melts..
~Take out and serve with roti or rice of your preference.


~Bharwan shimla mirch can also be prepared by frying in oil , heat a kadai/saucepan , add oil and gently set the peppers inside , cover and low the flame , approx 7-10 mints and then again change the sides of pepper , cover and cook for approx 7 mints . When you can see its roasted or a brown crust develops take it out and serve .Enjoy with Roti/Chawaal/Bhaat or as is ...

We can not do all great things , but we can do small things with great love.-Mother Teresa

Have you really pondered for some moments that we are much blessed by God for providing a shelter home , food to eat and money to spend .There are millions of those underpriveledged who don’t have anything to eat or live life on streets , No luxary to afford , Children living their life on begging and collecting garbage from road sides with no hope for a better Tommorrow ..If your heart melts for them then participate in bringing the goals set by Gracious VKN. For more details go To Vcc-q4-2006-you-can-cook-for-fahc and Fahc-campaign .

Some more recipes next time , Bon Apettite and Happy Cooking .

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Zucchini Capsicum Curry For WHB

Zucchini Capsicum Curry







Zucchini also known as Italian Squash (Cucurbita pepo) is a Fruit and is the Jewel of all summer squash belongs to family Cucurbitaceae (Cucumber family ) .Thought to be originated in Mexico.

This Squash is available as small rounds , long elongated yellow and green variety also ..It is very low on calories but contains many good folates, Vit A and Potassium (K).The texture after cooked is more like melt in your mouth.It is high in water content , this makes it good for dieting purposes.

When purchasing look for a healthy shine , and no blemishes , it can be refrigerated with out being washed and cover in plastic bag for upto 7 days ..
These can be prepared in Breads,Pasta, grilled , sauted and in soups /stews also ..
More from here Information Source



Zucchini Capsicum curry
Recipe requirements
~2 Zucchini cut into wide chunks
~1 green bell peppers (can use red and orange ,it will add more colour to the curry )
~½ potato cut into cubes
For the Gravy paste
~1 large onion ,require ½ of it for paste and other half onion finely chopped for saute.
~3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
~1 inch of ginger chopped
~1 tsp of cumin seeds( roasted over tava/skillet )
~1 tsp of corriander seeds (roasted over tava/skillet)
~1 –2 tsp of pine nuts/cashews
~1 tbs of poppy seeds
~1 tsp of turmeric powder
~1 tsp of black pepper , 1 tbs of red Pepper powder ~ 1-2 tbs of canola oil.
~water to rotato the grinder
mix all in the grinder and make a paste out of it .
Method
~Heat a kadai/ saucepan and add oil ,fry at med all the zucchini , bell peppers pieces and ~potatoes ,approx 7 –8 mints .
~Now take out all and drain in paper towels ..
~Add oil to the saucepan and add the onions first and fry it ,now add the prepared paste to it , fry it at low for some 7 mints and now add ½ cup of warm water ..cook to one boil.
~Add the fried Zucchini, Capsicum and Potato , cook at med for another 5-8 mints .

~Take out,Garnish with fresh Cilantro/Coriannder leaves and serve with roti(Indian Flat Bread)/Vegetable Pulao /rice of your preferences..

Weekend Herb Blogging has greatly influenced my life , Now I always look for new vegetable Dishes and some great ways to prepare them . This one goes to Kalynskitchen for hosting wonderful event WHB .

some more recipes next time , Bon Appetite and Happy Cooking .

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Baked Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti

Spaghetti the most popular of pasta shapes is thin long strands , and the dried variety is made from Durum wheat , it is served with mainly tomato based sauce , and can accompany any hard cheese like Parmesan , sometimes meatballs are also included with it .Some curious find outs about pasta
1st pasta factory opened in US in Brooklyn, New York.
2 there are more than 600 shapes of pasta known around the world (including China )
3 In Italian Fettuccini means ribbons
4 Thomas Jefferson is known to introduced Macoroni to US.
5 Childrens loves pasta a lot , according to study 17 percent eat spaghetti (mine included yuppy) and 16 percent Mac n Cheese.
6 The word pasta comes from Italian word paste meaning Flour and water more from here Facts about pasta .

Baked Spaghetti
Originally the recipe is from Here , adapted to suit my family 's taste and preferences.

Recipe Requirements
~1/2 pack of spaghetti (San giorgio brand)
~2-3 eggs
~½ tomato diced
~½ green pepper chopped
~½ red pepper chopped
~1tsp Italian seasoning
~can use mushrooms/broccoli/peas/corn
~1/2 tbs of red pepper powder
~salt as per desired
~½ jar pasta sauce
~1tbs of sour cream
~1 onion copped
~Shredded Mozzerella cheese.
Method
~Boil egg /slice the hard boiled egg.
~Then cut veges and wash.
~In a large bowl mix in veggies, add salt , add egg to the veggies.
~Add Italian seasoning, red pepper powder, black pepper,sour cream , toss well , cook the pasta according to package direction , mix it well with above.
~Now add shredded mozerrela cheese(can use Parmesan) to the above casssorole generously, cover the casserole with aluminium foil.
~Heat oven at 350 f , place the casserrole in the lower rack , cook for approx 15-20 mints.

I have made this dish with Ziti , and Penne also.

some more recipes next time ,Bon Appetite, Happy Cooking

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Penne Pasta Soup


Penne Pasta soup in cold winter night
Pasta is a gift from Italy to the world, and we are also addicted to Italian cuisine , from kids to young and old , everybody loves Pasta . My first encounter with Italian cuisine, rather Pasta was when we went to Olive Garden for a dinner with friends in Memphis .We were not familiar with the shapes and the sauces or any signature dishes , one of my friend introduced me to the beautiful world of pasta , we ate simple Spaghetti and Marinara sauce that day , but my interest grew more and more ,Till I find some of it in our local grocery "Giant".Although I must admit I have always used boxed type mainly the Barilla, Mullers and San Giorgio brand .I am kind of hooked to the wonderful shapes of pasta , from simple spaghetti, angel hair, ziti, ditaloni,To Penne , Manicotti (pasta stuffed with cheese , meat) ,Farfalle, Rigatoni, Rotini and jumbo shells.
And more here for the type of pasta and shape and the sauce ingredients. Information source for pasta shapes
Do you know Thomas Jefferson is credited for bringing first Macroni Machine to US to make his fav pasta Mac n Cheese after his stay at France , working there as Ambassedor.
Pasta Sauces
~Pesto –a paste of .pounded pine nuts, basil , garlic and Parmigiano Riggiano cheese ,olive oil.
~Bolognese –a slowly simmered sauce with veal (young cow meat) or chopped finely beaf..
~Tomato sauce – red tomato /wine based( most of the time Marsala) sauce wth fine bacon strip. ~Some of the time spicy tomato , garlic ,oilve oil sauce with fresh vegetables or seafood.
~Some signature pasta dishes like Spaghetti alla norma (spaghetti and eggplant/ brinjal ), pasta con de sarde(sardines,pines,oilve and fennel) ,Spaghetti and meatballs are also popular.
~Alfredo –white creamy sauce is one so popular sauce and it is well incorporated with fettuccine.
When making pasta make sure to choose the correct sauces , thin and delicate pasta like Angel hair and thin spaghetti must be made with light sauces , thick pasta like Fettuccine and Ditalini should be made into thick and rich creamy sauces ,
Penne Rigate , the pasta I used for this soup is a classic pasta , it can hold well , so mainly used for baked pasta dishes , anything which goes with Lasagne will go well with Penne pasta , they can be made into chunky sauces with meats or vegetables as well .They are 1and1/2 inch in length , ridged wall and cut slightly slant .This helps to trap the sauce well , they require a minimum of 10 mints of cooking time for the perfect Al dante .This soup is perfect for a cold winter night .


Penne Pasta soup

Recipe Requirements

~¼ packet (boxed) of Penne Pasta
~2-4 broccoli florets /zuccini cut into pieces
~1 sundried tomato
~3-4 baby carrots /capsicum pieces
~¼ cup corn/zuccini pieces
~½ cup of White buton Mushroom cut into Chunks
~1 inch ginger root cut into small pieces
~2-3 cloves of Garlic chopped
~salt and pepper as per taste …
~1 tbs of Mc cormick Garlic Pepper seasoning
salt as per taste ..
~1-2 tbs of Margarine
~1-2 tbs of Sour Cream
~1-2 tbs of any Jar Pasta Sauce (Prego/Rago/Rinaldi )
Method
~Cook Penne pasta in boiling water with some salt , make sure to add bit more water , so that when the pasta is cooked , there is plenty of water remains , this will be used in soup later ….
~Meanwhile heat a saucepan and add margarine , garlic, ginger and and add all the vegetables , ~Add seasoning and fry for some time lower the flame and cook till the vegetables are cooked lttle bit , don’t overcook them , its imporatant the crispness remains .
~Now add sour cream , pasta sauce and the pasta that is cooked with the water in which the pasta is cooked ….just 4 mints and its done ..serve it hot with Some shredded mild cheddar cheese or any cheese of ur preference and some Potato rolls … I also make the above with some chunks of precooked chicken pieces ….

Its awonderful way to warm up in cold winter days , specially when you are in hurry and want a warm filling dish , it fits right into it ....
next time more recipes till then Bon Apetite or should I say Buon Appetito and Happy Cooking.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Luchi aar Alo Dom (spicy potato curry)

Sheeter Deene(Winter) Luchi Aar Aloor Dum ( Spicy Potato Curry )

Sheet/winter has many fond memoies , my mother will cook this oh so fav meal and we would love to eat for our breakfast , however I made this for lunch , and we enjoyed it a lot, hope you too .

Aloor Dum

Recipe requirements

~3-4 gold Potatoes , cut into big cubes
~large onions peeled and chopped
~4-5 cloves of garlic chopped
~1 inch of ginger chopped
~½ tbs of turmeric powder
~1 tbs of red pepper powder
~½ tbs cumin powder
~½ tbs of corriander powder
~1 tbs of garam masala
~½ tbs of cumin seeds
~1-2 bay leaf
~2-3 tbs of canola oil
~salt as per taste
Method
Heat oil in a large pan , fry the potatoes at med –low ,take out and drain over paper towel.
Now add the cumin seeds , let it pop up , add bay leaf , chopped onions,garlic, ginger fry for 5-8 mints at med –low .
Add all the dry masalas , turmeric, red pepper,cumin,corriander and salt .add bit of sugar also .fry all for 5 mints
Add fried potatoes , stir fry whole mixture untill potatoes retain a nice yellow colour ,
Add warm water ½ cup and cover , cook for 30 mints or so till potatoes are done at low.
Add garam masala, and chopped corriander leaves . Can add 1 tbs of ghee to enhance the flavour.
take out and serve with garam garam Luchi.

Luchi ~1 cup of all purpose flour
~2 tbs of wheat flour
~water as desired to knead.
~1 tbs of canola oil and pinch of salt
Method
Knead all into a soft dough , make small round balls ,roll them with roll pin into rounds and fry them in a kadai/saucepan in oil.


Soojir Halvah/Halwa
~1 cup Sooji /Rava/cream of wheat/semolina/Farina
~¾ cup of sugar
~1-2 tbs of butter/ghee
~cashews ,raisins
Method
Heat a saucepan , melt in butter , add sooji ,fry till light brown .
Add sugar and fry for another 4mints.
Add cashews , raisins, water , cover cook at low for 5mints, take it out
And serve with Luchi , aloor dum .

If feel like go and listen to Madhumati songs

Some more recipe next time , Bon Apetite ,Happy Cooking

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Banana Pancake and Blueberry Sauce

Banana Pancake with Blueberry Sauce

A healthy breakfast gives you a jump start off your day , we always neglect our breakfast , But we can try making meals which are less time consuming and healthy.Banana Pancake with Blueberry sauce is easy to make and is enjoyable also .A Fav breakfast During weekened in our home.This one is power packed with the goodness of Bananas and Blueberries.



Bananas belong to family Musacea (flowering plants) is very popular fruit .
Bananas/Kela/Kola/Kanch Kola or Plantains are excellent source of Potassium, can eat it when having diarrohea it will help a lot, originated in Malaysia then gain popularity towards India, pick bananas that are slightly green in color because you will then be able to store it for more days than the fully riped ones.Pls dont refrigerate them or store them in hot climate as it will spoil them , If wish to refrigerate better Puree them . Bananas are fav among litle ones and older ones as well Banana Bread , salads and baked Goodies .More from here Information Source

Blueberry belongs to family Ericacea (Craneberry family),are such a pleasure in summer. Abowl of berries looks elegant and also mouthwatering .Blueberries are made into Jam ,Jellies, pies and Muffins and also in baking goodies . It taste more sour or tart when raw but when cooked/baked with , has a distinctive flavour. They are best from May to Setember, they grow in cluster.Pick Blueberries that are deep in color with a whitish powder type over them , should not be soft .It can be stored in frigde for a week , Buying frozen packets then pls check the date of expiry also , but I would prefer Fresh Blueberry over frozen .Bluebbery is also good source of Vitamins C ,more Information Source , It remind me of a fruit we use to eat while returning from our School in our small Township, wild Makai , dont know have you ever heard about it .A native wild fruit plant in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.


Banana Pancake with Blueberry Sauce


Recipe Requirements
1 cup pancake mix (Hungry jack-light , Bisquick / all purpose flour )
1 cup low fat milk, can use water instead
1 tsp nutmeg powder
1 ripe banana
From scratch
1 cup all purpose flour
½ tbs baking powder
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
and pinch of salt
1 tbs of cinnamon
½ tbs of nutmeg powder
Method
Mash the banana with spoon in a bowl , gently add milk/Buttermilk to it ½ cup first and then rest , then mix .
In a large bowl , add the boxed flour ,milk+banana mixture gently , don’t beat it .
Heat a Skillet or tava or dosa tave which is available , even non sticks will work fine just check the Skillet is ready to make pancakes by droping some water drop , if it sizzles and vanish quickly ,its ready to make pancake ..
Grease the tava/skillet surface with oil .
Scoop the batter in and drop over hot skillet/tava , let it sit there for some time and keep the flame at med-low.
When the bubble start appearing its time to flip the pancake, this time if you feel do add some oil by the side of pnacakes.
Flip the side and cook just 1 mint, when its easily being released from the Skillet with the spatula , its done …make all the pancake same like the above method.The batter is sufficient to make 5 pancakes.

Updated-4/04/10

Also you may use self rising flour in place of pancake mix.They turn out even more flavourful.Pancake made below is made with self rising flour.




Blueberry sauce


Recipe Requirements
½ cup of fresh blueberry (can use frozen also)
½ cup and 2 tbs of sugar
2-3 tbs of butter/margarine will also be fine.
Method
Mix in sugar and blueberry in a bowl.
Heat a small saucepan , can use melting pot also, and add the blueberry mix .
Now cook it at low and stiring in between add the butter , it will take another 7-10 mints blueberry will start to pop up at this time stop stiring .Can use corn starch syrup for sticky sauce, but I generally don’t use it .
Take out and cool , and keep in refrigerated for 2 days , it stays fresh .Serve on top with warm cooked pancakes ..
Enjoy your meals with your loved ones in Cozy environment as its winter and festive time .


some more recipes next time Bon Apetite, Happy Cooking

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Cauliflower Potato Curry

Aloo Phulkopir Torkari (Cauliflower Potato Curry)

Cauliflower is a vegetable belonging to family cruciferace(Mustard Family) that has Broccoli,and Cabbage as memebers also, the thick floret part or the head is known as curd , these vegetables have known to contain compounds which prevent cancer.Lets see what wiki has to say Over to you Wiki .The main action performed by these compounds is to stop the procuction of enzymes that can lead to producing carcinogenic elements.Cauliflower made with Turmeric is helpful in preventing prostrate cancer in men .It is thought to be originated in Middle –eastern and Turkey, then gain popularity in Europe.
Nutrient data from Nutritiondata.com and more from here Papa.essortment.com
Fresh cauliflower florets is creamy white in color, there should not be any dark patches type, and also the florets should not be loose.If purchasing pre-cut try to use it in 2 days .The peak season is from december to march .We can purchase oh so fresh cauliflowers during this period, cauliflowers can be little sauted or boiled and addition of spices are always welcome.Kopi/Cauliflower/Gobi, is so fondly eaten in India.And there are many different ways to prepare it . Being Bengali , allo Kopi'r torkari is one of our favourite.




Necessity is the mother of invention

This is a simple recipe for Cauliflower /potato curry .We Bengali’s call Aloo phulkupi torkari and if its winter time this is a staple home food in every Bengali home. Just went nostalgic and remembered the EM by Pass wiki about EM Bypass in Calcutta , vegetable vendors most of them women and occasionally children selling fresh cauliflowers/Brinjals/Radish plucked straight from the fields.The evenings will always be spent in a nice drive in EM bypass , we will go and bargain 4 cauliflowers for mere 25 rupees and its taste more authentic than the organic cauliflower we get here or sometime will go to Monginis to get mouthwatering cakes or many times we ended our nice drive to City Centre in Salt Lake.City Centre (enjoy the music also,turn on the volume ) .
On that fateful day(Brsaat ki ek raat type) , I was running short of turmeric powder/red pepper powder as we have no Indian grocery nearby , there is one very far off but many of the times its always closed.
I had some Tex-Mex Chilli seasoning which I got it from “Giant” , I have this unusual habit of picking new seasonings whenever we go Shoping and I love to spend more time in the condiments and spice aisle than any where else, which is somewhat surprising for my hubby and he always had to push me and sometimes hold my hand and have to say Chalo arro kicho neete hobe( lets go we have many other things to purchase)…. can’t help kya kare control nahi hota(I can't control) … so this time instead of our traditional Indian spices using Mexican spice was inevitable ….it came out surprisingly tasty with a last minute touch of melted butter and some shredded Mozzerrela on top it was a winner .. .it is fusion of Mexican spice and Indian vegatables …….so its simple and quick without any “ Tam –Zham “(Labour) …and we had it with plain yogurt , some onion rings and roti (Indian flat Bread) so here is a recipe
Cauliflower Potato Curry (Aloo Phulkupir torkari)
Recipe Requirements

~Cauliflower half broken into small florets
~2 potatoes , Prefer using gold Potatoes cut into cubes..
~½ tomatoes cut into pieces
~1 tsp of cumin seeds
~1 medium size onion cut into pieces
~2-3 garlic cloves chopped
~1 inch fresh ginger root cut and chopped
~2-3 tbs McCormick tex-mex chilli seasoning (seasoning is used to make Mexican chili ) or 1/2 tbs of turmeric powder, 1 tbs of Indian red pepper powder,1 tbs of cumin powder, 1/2 tbs of corrinader powder.
~2-3 tbs fresh Cilantro/coriander
~1-2 tbs Canola oil for frying
~salt and sugar as per desired
Method

~Heat oil in any saucepan , then add cumin seeds , let it pop up properly …
Fry the gobi first till its golden , then take it out and soak the excess oil from gobi over paper towels.
~Add onions, garlic, ginger and fry for sometimes( if it requires adding some oil do so) till all of them have become translusent , at this point of time add potatoes and fry them at med –low for 5-7 mints
~Add seasoning, salt and sugar (add sugar in cauliflower Curry as it balances the taste) , and that too as per desired ….
~Low the flame and add some warm water not much because it will end up in runny soup which is what we have to avoid , cover and cook for another 8-10 mints ..
~At this point of time add tomatoes and cook untill the gravy has dried a little bit Garnish with fresh cilantro …
So take out your chefs hat and go cook food and serve love.
remembering Raj KapoorWikipedia on RajKapoor for his famous song in Anari

*Kisi Ki muskorahato pe ho Nisar ( let somebody's smile make you crazy about )

*Kisi ka dard le sake to le udhaar (if you can , do borrow someones sorrow)

*Kisike vaste tere dil me ho pyaar , Jeena eisi ka naam Hai.( If there is love in your heart for somebody , this is my dear friend, life is all about )

If feel like listening to go here Anari Songs

This is for the wonderful event of weekend herb bloging WHB hosted by gracious Nandita's Saffrontrail

some more recipes next time , Bon Apetite and Happy Cooking.
Taking the Day as it comes.....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Shrimp curry and Vegetable Pulao

Bengali Chingri (Shrimp) ,Carrot and Green Beens Curry with Vegetable Pulao

Let me extend my heartiest warm wishes for everyone out there reading this post .Thank you for taking your precious time out to read it , and making me feel so worthy.I would also like to extend my thanks to My Cooking Friends , I have learned from you so much and each day its a learning experience for me with all of you .Thank all of you a lot.
And to my loving better half for his unconditional support and encouragement to do things.
My Inlaws and Parents for bringing best out of me.Thank You also.
My Blogger Friend Mandira , thank you for your help also.


Shrimp and green beans carrot curry

Recipe Requirements

~Shrimp (chingri)15 peeled and deveined , head and tail removed (I often Use Frozen Large Shrimp 31/40 Packet)
~Green beans 1/2 cup cut into 1 inch in length
~Baby carrots 1/2 cup
~frozen Corn 1/4 cup
~1 –2 tbs of bay seasoning or can use garam masala
~McCormick 1 tbs of garlic pepper seasoning or Black pepper powder+some cloves of garlic crushed
~1 tbs Red pepper powder (can add more for spicy curry)
~1-2 tbs of canola oil for frying
~Cilantro leaves for garnishing
~salt as per taste and 1 bay leaf
Method
~Mariade the shrimp(chingri) with salt and garlic pepper , refrigerate for atleast half an hour..
~Heat saucepan , add oil , add shrimp fry them till shrimps retain their bright colour.
~Now add bay leaf, green beans and frozen corn,baby carrots fry them at med for 5 –7 mints …
~Add red pepper powder,black pepper powder, bay seasoning , salt and fry another 10 mints ~cover at low till shrimps(chingri) are cooked .
~Serve and enjoy with warm Vegetable Pulao

Vegetable Pulao
~1 and ½ cup of rice washed and soaked in water for atleast 1 hrs.
~½ medium red onions chopped
~3 –4 cloves of garlic
~½ inch fersh ginger chopped
~1-2 tbs of sugar
~½ cup of raisins/cashews and other dry fruits of choice
~½ tbs of red pepper powder
~salt as per taste
~1 –2 tbs of canola oil
~frozen peas and other vegetables of choice..
Method
~Heat the saucepan ,add oil and fry the onions/ginger/garlic.
~Add rice and fry at med-low till rice for 5-8 mints, add vegetables ,dry fruits
~Add sugar, salt ,red pepper powder.
~Add 1 and ¾ cup of water(it should be like 2 fingers above the rice level) ,cover and cook at low for approx 10 mints or till the water is being absorbed .Remove from the flame.
Pressure cooker method
~Heat the pressure cooker ,add oil and fry all the ingredients like the above and after frying add water ,it should be like to every 1 cup of rice 1cup of water..
~Close the pressure Cooker ,put the flame on high , one whistle and remove from the flame , open only after the pressure has subsided.

serve with scrambled egg and enjoy with your loved ones. I would also like to send it across to Meeta for Monthly-Mingle #6 -Give Thanks .Thank You Meeta for giving us a wonderful theme.

Some more recipes next time ,Bon Apetite and Happy Cooking

Friday, November 10, 2006

Chicken Curry with Broccoli and apple salad

Bengali Murgir Jhol(Chicken Curry) with Broccoli and Apple Salad
Sometimes nice hearty meal let you feel with such satisfaction that no gold or silver can do that , chicken cooked in spicy ingredients is what my family crave for during winter time . This time I made Chicken Curry with some vegetable and potato for a change , and yes it is a welcome change in our daily menu , with bay seasoning it has a new flavour .


Chicken Curry with Broccoli and Potatoes

Recipe Requirements

~4 Chicken drumsticks
~1 medium onion Chopped finely
~5-6 cloves of garlic cut into pieces
~1 inch fresh ginger chopped finely
~½ tbs turmeric powder
~1 tbs of red pepper powder
~1-2 tbs Bay seasoning
~½ tbs coriander powder
~½ can Thai coconut milk
~4-5 Broccoli florets
~1 potato cut into half
~2-4 tbs of canola oil
~1 cup of Chicken Broth or warm water
~1-2 bay leaf
~1tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of sugar

Method
~Season the chicken drumstick with salt , black pepper and McCormick garlic pepper seasoning , cover and refrigerate for 1hr.
~Heat a saucepan , add canola oil, first fry the chicken drumsticks at med till brown on both sides ,fry potatoes also ..discard excess oil if necessary at this time …
~Add bay leaf ,add onions ,ginger and garlic fry them all at low for 5-7 mints till all become translucent. .
~Now add seasonings ,bay,turmeric,red pepper ,salt ,sugar ,black pepper , fry some more time 3-5 mints if there is oil coming out at the sides of the gravy ,its ready to take on chicken and potatoes.
~Add chicken pieces , Potatoes and fry at low for 5-7 mints ,add warm water or chicken broth…if want adry fry add less water ,we often eat it with warm cooked rice so ,added atleast 1cup of water..cover and cook at low .
~After some 30 mints or so add Broccoli and Thai coconut milk.
cover and cook at low for another 10 mints or till the drumsticks are soft and cooked to perfection.
~Serve and enjoy it with warm cooked rice or Roti and Apple salad


Apple salad

Recipe Requirements
~1 red delecious apple peeled and sliced into small pieces
~1 medium onion chopped finely
~¼ cup of pomegranate seeds
~¼ cup of pinenuts and cashews
~¼ cup of raisins and dried craneberries
~1 cup of yougurt or add some 1tbs of instant vanilla pudding for thick salad dip (for variation can add lemon juice and feta cheese with olive oil for that Greek Touch , instead of Yogurt)
~1 tsp McCormick garlic pepper seasoning
~salt and pepper as per taste
Method
~Mix all in a large bowl and refrigerate for atleast 2hrs , serve with Chicken Curry .

some more recipes next time ,Bon Apetite and Happy Cooking

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Apple Cake with cinnamon and nutmeg powder

Apple cake with cinnamon and nutmeg powder

And also this is my humble entry to the wonderful event of WBB-7 being hosted by Nandita's Saffrontrail/
Celebrate the fall with apple cake this time . Fall season and apples go together so well that I could not think anything else so I made the apple cake on Sunday morning as breakfast , we usually have pancakes but thought of trying new thing for breakfast would be fun also…. My hubby was pleasently surprised , he is a big fan of banana cake but this time he even craved for it more , and my home was filled with a pleasent baking fragerence , Make it and enjoy it with your loved ones also...

Originally from here, adapted to suit my family’s taste and of course with many changes....Recipe Requirements

2 ½ cups of Red delecious apple peeled and cut into small pieces

1/2 cup of powdered white sugar

½ cup of light brown sugar

1tsp of baking soda

1cup and 2 tbs of all purpose flour or Maida

1tsp of cinnamon powder

1 tsp of nutmeg powder

pinch of salt

½ cup of canola oil

1 egg

¼ cup of applesauces

2 tbs of sour cream

some raisins or chopped walnuts as you prefer,this time I added raisins and dried craneberries

Method

Preheat oven to 350deg F(175 deg C), prepare the cake pan by slightly oiling the surface and then sprinkle some flour ,gently tap it to even the flour ,the cake pan is ready for bake,I have used 9 inch round pan but 13*9 inch pan can also be used ,but the baking time will vary …

Mix in sugar and sliced apples , set in a bowl ,now mix in flour ,salt,raisin,dried craneberries,baking soda,cinnamon powder,nutmeg powder in alrge bowl.

Whisk in egg and oil (can add vanilla for flavouring if necessary ), add this mix to the above in a large bowl , gently mix in together , folding it evenly ....

Add applesauces and sour cream to the above ,gently fold in and pour the cake batter over the prepared pan and bake it in the preheated oven for 30 –35 mints (if using 13*9 inch cake pan time will be 45 mints) untill the toothpick comes out clean ….

Cool and serve with a scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice-cream and some fresh slice of apples .These are optional but you can have it any way with or without topping …..it taste great and moist …And within a couple of hours it will be all gone , trust me ...

Bon Apetite and Happy Cooking

Friday, November 3, 2006

Something About My Cooking Philosophy

It was last Saturday that we were having a normal chit-chat, and suddenly some of my close Cooking friends asked me what is your cooking philosophy ?? what is your primary thoughts when you try cooking , is it playing around with ingredients or is it you first look around what is in your pantry ….
Let me guess, I am a mom , a quite busy stay at home mom, and yes love to cook ..and if I could just summarise my philosophy ,it would be like cooking healthy, quick and easy meals so my near and dear ones can enjoy it …but , sometimes I cheat on this philosophy and go for high calorie deserts and deep fried Pakodes , haha ….
I believe in cooking with fun and what you enjoy the most …be it little or more ,I don’t cook daily seven course meals , but always some quick and easy ways to nourishment and proper healthy eating , also sometimes some recipes which require some time and labour….
Traditional Indian cooking concentrate much more on cooking seven course meals .and Bengali cuisine is one such example ,where we start with first course of saag , then dal with some fried pakode or Tele bhaja like Beguni (eggplant dipped in gram flour mixture and deep fried) or cauliflower pakode ,Fish curry with Garam bhaat (warm cooked rice) , and to finish it off tomato chutney and ambol..
But modern day cooking has shrinked to only cooking Dal (lentil soup) , some fry and fish curry , atleast this is what I do to be honest with you ….…
But what about when its time for a company to visit, what will be your preference, do you satisfy your creativity and presentation , or is that you stick to time tasted and reliable recipes, vegetarian paneer or some Thai Tofu curry , or non vegetarian chicken curry or chicken breast cooked in Italian Dressing …what will be coming to your mind first …
For me I am bit afraid to go with my creativity when inviting company and stick to basics But when I am cooking for my loved ones and dear ones ,I usually play around with my things in Pantry ….because I know they will always encourage me saying that better luck next time.. Luckily it has not happened yet , hopefully it wont ...
So this time this is my version of Playing with things in Pantry …Fusion Cooking
And I am not joking in Durban there is a fusion cooking school see
fusioncooking.co.za
waitrose.com/food_drink/wfi/foodissues/foodtrends
and also a take on Gobi Munchurian By Meenakshi of Hooked on heat ,such a lovely way to get Gobi done ,lovely and tasty …
Gobi Munchurian
Fusion cooking is something you call twist in the original recipes also its just not always changing the ingredients to suit the taste but also the method of doing it , see what Mandira has come up with a fab Idea of Rasmalai made with a twist ,who would have thought such neat idea will exist to get your yummy Rasmalai doneRasmalai-with-twist ….
And Our own Sandeepa has done to bring best out of soya chunks when she made breakfast on saturady morning Egg-paratha-with-twist, way to go girl and the lovely kid version ….
So its always some creativity in corner of your heart look out for that , who knows may be next time you can also come up with some Fusion Cooking , Cooking with twist or Fusion Intrusion …or whatever you would coin the term , its upto you ....
Hope you all are enjoying nature , take out some time to be with nature , I am taking the day as it comes , hope you too.........
BonAppetite and Happy Cooking

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sandesh

Trick or Treat with Sandesh
What will be your take , read on to know mine for this festival being celebrated in this part of world, the most attractive part being the children , seeing lovely smiling faces dressed in some colourful ways or may be scary sometimes , families coming together and celebrating things called joys of life ......


I wonder how humans have developed a keen interest in celebrating , celebrating the joys of life , celebrating colours and Light , I have found that both Halloween and our own Deepavali , are festival revolving around lights and the joys of children ,we Bengali’s celebrate Deepavali as Kali Puja …the legend says that to defeat the Demons Shumbha/Nisumbha, Maa kali came to rescue the world ,more story here
Kali-pooja-in-Bengaland another legend of Rama-return-to-ayodhya
and these are some of the interesting poems on Diwali ,I kept reading the first one and laughing a lot …Diwali-poems
It will be Halloween on Tuesday 31 October , and children will be coming with trick or treat Tradition, what attracts me more is them being dressed as fairies, monster , and batman to anything scary , scary but enjoyable scary haha …….

The legend says Halloween is being celebrated to mark the harvest festival and also its originated in Ireland ,Britain and northern Europe…more legend stories here
halloween history
So get ready for the Jack-o-Lantern, theme parties and getting together …
So guess , making homemade Sandesh will be fun also …this is a recipe I learned from my MIL and I am still in the learning process , she used to make it every morning to give as sweet Treat in her son’s lunch box .Sometimes making the Chana ( Cottage cheese) in the night for a quicky
in the morning ….so it was treat everyday .Being Bengali sandesh is such a favourable thing I can’t think anything else…
Without much adding to intro here is a simple recipe for Sandesh


Ingredients
3-4 cups of milk
sugar as per taste ,I added 4-5 tbs of sugar
2 tbs of mango syrup, for the colour and some light mango fragerance
1 lemon


Method
Bring the pot with milk to a boil, meanwhile cut the lemon in halves , add the fresh juice from it to the milk (I will suggest not to use the lemon juice in plastic lemon available in vegeatble section , fresh lemon juice has been more effective than anything else, )
Let it curdle up , make Chana out of the milk, squeeze the excess liquid from Chana, set aside in a bowl.
Add sugar , mango syrup, and now the fun part ,with your hands ,blend the Chana and the sugar well , knead it properly ,so that chana becomes smooth, and sugar evenly distributed
Now heat a saucepan , and add the above chana mixture to it ,cook it at low stiring continously and sometimes putting the flame to medium ,when you feel its becoming bit low on temperature, the trick is to maintain a temperature in which the mixture don’t get burnt and you come out making sandesh with flying colours…My Mil says it like “ Chana ke Paak deva
Take the mixture out when you feel that the mixture has little bit dried and easily being released from the pan while stiring, the constitency will be little bit dried but not grainy , take it out and immediately roll into small balls and shape them in whatever way you feel look beautiful …cool, serve and enjoy with your loved ones ..
I have found that while shaping the sandesh since the paak mixture is hot , if you slightly flour your hands then the sandesh is perfectly rolled into desirable shape and also it doesn’t hurt your hands.
I have used mango syrup for a flavour for mango sandesh , but rosewater, or saffron can be used to give different flavours to sandesh….

So wish everybody a Happy and scary Halloween …
This is also my entry to the to the VCC:VCCq3-2006 being hosted by Vkn of MyDhaba
Taking my days as it comes and enjoying the Fall here , hope everybody enjoying nature also.
Happy Halloween
I will be back with some more recipes next time ,till then Bon Appetite , Happy cooking .

Friday, October 13, 2006

Alo Posto aar Amer Ambol ( Mango Chutney)

Its another day, a bright new day, sun is coming out nicely, with the Fall and its vigour, Nature is at its peak beauty...Pennsylvania is a beautiful Place to be, Being living in a small town is also a charm, for the first time I have seen coming to US these beautiful landscapes, country side charm, Buffaloes, Horses, and huge Corn fields...its has some of the most breathtaking sights...lush greenery... you have to be here to feel and see it ....
Its something special to feel also since this is festive time, was missing home and so thought of making something which reminds us of home and the festivities ...but should be quick and easy...Went running to shop got white poppy seeds from our local Indian grocery store and fresh ripe Mexican Mangoes from "Giant"...
Talking about Indian cuisine, I could not stop thinking about Bengali cuisine, as being Bengali its but natural, savoury sweets from Rasogolla, Sandesh and what not .
So many thoughts just pass by...went nostalgic about Howrah Brigde to Trams in Calcutta and the beautiful Victoria's buggy ride in the evenings in the MAIDAN Near Victoria Memorial.

Victoria Memorial
And here is some of the beautiful pictures of Durga Puja in Calcutta
Durga Puja - Matri Sangha Behala
Durga Puja Mitra Sangha Behala
Durga Puja Jodhpur Park Puja
Durga Puja Chalta Bagan Pandal
Durga Puja Salt Lake F D Block

ok after asmall journey to Kolkata, now back to food and recipes , there is a wonderful recipe in Ahaar about Sukto
the recipe is here ,It is a nice way to eat vegetables .You will like it .Some other delicacies are Tasty Macher jhaal (fish Curry ),and Posto (poppy seeds paste ) so, just thought of making our favorites , made Aloo Posto (Potatoes cooked in Poppy paste ) last Friday , posto can be used to make other vegetables also Jhinge posto ,and so on...without adding much intro to all , here is the simple recipe for Aloo Posto..

Potatoes cooked in white poppy seeds paste (Aloo Posto)
Servings is for 4
Ingredients
Potatoes 2-3 cut into long Jullienes , 1-2 bay leaf , White Poppy seeds 2-3 tbs, Some cashews 2-3 tbs ,
1 tsp of cumin seeds(better if you have "Panch Phoron" a dry spice mixture Fennel,cumin,fenugreek,Nigella seeds and Radhuni ,its substitute can be celery seeds but both are not same ) ,1 /2 tsp turmeric powder,2 tsp of red pepper powder (fresh Green chillies can also be used in place of red pepper powder ),salt as per taste , and some water and Canola oil 2 tbs .
Method
Heat oil in saucepan at med , add cumin seeds , let it pop up ,add 1-2 bay leaves

Now add potato julliences and fry for another 5 mints stiring in between
add all the dry ingredients and salt to taste add little bit of water and cover , cook for 7-10 mints at low till potatoes are done but not soggy .

Meanwhile the potatoes are cooking , grind poppy seeds and cashews with pinch of salt in grinder with enough water to make it into a smooth paste (I have to add cashews as it helps rotate the grinder and also adds to the overall taste,but originally people in Bengal use this special grinder made of some stones to make a paste out of poppy seeds only for making Aloo Posto , with some Fresh green chillies)

When its done add the above paste to the potatoes cooking ,stir and cook for another 5 mints and then take it out .
Back in Bengal, poeple cook in Mustard oil ,that itself gives an instant kick to any dishes and its healthy also ..Its here that I have started using Canola Oil , which is also a heart healthy option ...
Aloo posto is better eaten with warm cooked rice , Mong Dal , and Ambol (a sweet/sour gravy thing with vegetables cooked in , or simple with Mango ) , every Bengali meal finishes with an Ambol.

Sweet and Sour Mango (Amer Ambol)
Its eaten as a last course, its another thing I always start my eating by sipping it first LOL that's me,generally it's the unripe mango which is used , but its some times when I dont have unripe mango in my Pantry (I haven't find yet in US) , I always use the semi ripe ones,this recipe is a wonderful treat for us when my mother -in -law makes it , same ingredients and same technique ,but I could not match the flavor,I guess It's the Love she puts in her, that makes it more tasty and enjoyable . She has also unique recipe for Ambol using Bhindi (Okhra), some fresh Kumro (pumpkin pieces) and tamarind pulp,thats another way to eat Ambol, when I visited my hubby's native Village , some of our relative made Ambol with Macher Dimer Bora (Fritters made of fish ) ,so you can see Ambol can be made in many ways. Amer Ambol being the simplest and quick.
Ingredients
1 ripe Mango cut into cubes with skin , 1 tbs Black mustard seeds ,1/4 tbs turmeric powder(I add it for yellow colour that gives a lively appearance) , 2-3 dry red chilly pepper ,canola oil for frying( it taste more flavorful with mustard oil) , 1/2 cup of sugar ,salt as per taste .
Method
Heat oil in saucepan , add mustard seeds, and dry red pepper being torn in between add to the hot oil , let them pop up .
Now add mango chunks fry for 1-2 mints , add salt and sugar ,turmeric powder , 1 cup of water or depends on how thick constitency you want ,cover and cook at low for 7-10 mints .
Take out and let it cool ,serve ,eat and enjoy with your meals.

Poppy seeds and coriander/cilantro chutney (Posto Dhone Patta chutney)
Ingredients
2-3 tbs poppy seeds, 2-3 tbs cashews ,1 medium tomato,1 Jalapeno pepper, 1 medium onion,1 inch fresh ginger root, 2-3 cloves of garlic , bunch of coriander leaves or cilantro leaves ,1 tbs of canola or better if you have extra virgin olive oil(EVOO), salt as per taste.
Method
Bring a pot with water to boil, add whole tomato to the hot water, cook for 5 mints till the skin is soft, take it out and peel the skin of tomato ,dice it into 4 equal parts.
Meanwhile the tomato is getting ready, peel and chop onion, garlic, ginger and separate cilantro/coriander leaves from the stem .
First make a paste of poppy seeds and cashews as stated in making in Aloo Posto .
Now add all the above ingredients in the above paste, salt, Jalapeno(add more if you want a fiery hot chutney) ,EVOO and last tomato in a blender ,blend it all well untill a smooth paste is formed .
Serving sugestion
Serve with some hot fritters (pakode) or as vegetarian sandwich spread .
We like it even on our warm cooked rice also.

some more recipes next time ,till then Bon Apetite ..
Enjoy your meals with your loved ones in cozy surroundings as its winter time .. Happy Cooking
I take the day as it comes , hope you too....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Introduction

Namaskar and welcome !!
Its being so nice here to do something you feel passionate about that is cooking . And here I am now with my humble attempts to record my everyday cooking and daily recipes.I like cooking and seeing loved ones enjoy their meals is pleasure also .. and cooking is an art,being an Indian it comes as but natural.. ..I am not a fancy cook ,nor I have taken any classes, its just what I have learned from my Mother an after my  marriage from my Mother-in -Law. I am an everyday cook with simple and easy recipes , but some time I also add variations and love to try out new things ....for me I have loved doing a new type of cooking Fusion Cooking .

So ,you might be thinking what exactly is a Fusion cooking , its in my words east meet west , its incorporating two different culture into one to achieve peak of taste..its fusion of spices ,and the result is some great tasting meals ...I have used many times Italian seasoning in Indian curry,or sometime a Tex-Mex seasoning with a normal cauliflower/potato sabzi ..or using fresh herbs like Rosemary in chicken curry ,fried rice etc...
Today,I think I am going to start with Chicken and Mushroom Curry .I have tried making it with a new twist ...
I made it for lunch last Wednesday, I have used chicken drumsticks and thighs for this recipe ,but other chicken cut pieces can also be used , some fresh button mushrooms ,half a packet will be sufficient.Ok let me just write it without adding much intro ....

Spicy Chicken /mushroom curry

Ingredients

4 chicken drumsticks
1 large onion cut into pieces
4 cloves garlic cut into pieces
1 inch fresh ginger cut into thin pieces
1 tbs turmeric powder
1 tbs Indian red pepper powder
1 tbs salt or as desired
1 tbs corriander powder
½ tbs canola oil
½ tbs Italian seasoning
1-2 tbs of water
½ tbs cumin seeds
½ tbs mustard seeds
3-4 tbs fresh cut cilantro leaves
1 large potato cut into half.
½ tbs sugar
1 tbs black pepper powder .
2 tbs canola oil
1 cup of water /chicken broth
2 heaped tbs of sour cream
½ cup cut mushrooms
Method
Marinade the chicken , add ½ turmeric powder, ½ red pepper powder, ½ corriander powder , ½ black pepper powder,salt , ½ tbs Italian seasoning , ½ tbs oil and 2 tbs of water ,mix well in a bowl , marinade the chicken for 1-2 hr in refrigerator .
Now heat oil in a saucepan , add cumin/mustard seeds ,let it pop up properly.
Add onions ,garlic , ginger , saute for 3-4 mints till it turns translusent .
Add rest of the dry ingredients ,then potatoes, fry it at med –low for 5-7 mints,
Add chicken drumsticks and fry for another 5 mints at med-low., add cilantro leaves.
Now add water and cover , let it simmer for another 30 mints .
At this point add mushrooms and let it simmer another 15 –20 mints.or till drumsticks are done.
At the end add sour cream and stir it well .
Serve with warm cooked basmati rice.

This is a sort of fusion cooking , I love the aroma of Italian seasoning so I always add that to my curries. I served it with with plain cooked rice,Fiki lassi (yogurt drink ) and some salads , tomatoes/onions/cucumbers cut into slices and added some lemon juice also .It tasted great and spicy with a mild hotness ,
Talking about lassi ,there are so many ways a lassi can be made mango lassi , sweet lassi our own Bengali favorite Mishti Doui ,and what not .. I just thought let me also write it about fiki lassi ,I know you all are familiar with it but there are some who will find it interesting ,a typical lassi made in Uttar Pradesh (where I have spent my wonderful growing years) ,in summer days people love to drink it , to cool off ......

Fiki Lassi (Yogurt Drink)
1 cup of plain yogurt
1 cup of water
1/2 tbs of salt
1/4 tbs of black pepper
1/4 inch of fresh ginger cut into small pieces
1-2 tbs of corriander leaves /cilantro leaves
1-2 icecubes
blend all in a blender and serve chilled ...
Its just plain home cooking for me , my first record of recipe ,I dont know if I will be able to appeal to you , but its anything you wish to ask me or write, about recipes here , you are always welcome here ...... ...

and talking about season , here in this part of US , there is some changes in color of leaves, a tinge of red ,yellow coming to them.If you feel ,just take out some time to be with nature this fall season.....I will be back again with some new recipes ,till then Bon Apetite...

I take the day as it comes , hope you too...Happy Cooking Friends