Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cottage Cheese Pudding

Today is Mahalaya , after this day Navaratri will be celebrated throughout India and abroad also .Navaratri is a 9 day long sacred period, and people worship Goddess Durga ,observe fast during this period also .Blessings of mighty Goddess Durga is seeked for the well being of family and friends .
Mahalaya falls in the month of Ashwin (according to Hindu Samvat calendar) and its generally a amavasya day (new moon day), people often offers tarpan(sacred Offerings and a ritual in Hinduisms ) to their ancestors and forefathers so that they live happily and peacefully in heaven .
We Bengalis have grown up listening to devotional songs Mahishashurmardini by Virendra Krishna Bhadra.I really can’t recollect how this started, but over a period of time, this has become a ritual itself. Without listening to these devotional songs, the very essence of festivity and the spirit is never matched.
When asked about this to My FIL , he came up with the answer .It was first Bani Kumar who initially wrote the lyrics of these devotional songs with the help of known Purohits of that time .Then It was the turn of Virendra Krishna Bhadra , who with the help of renowned musicians of that era came up with these songs .He recited the sholakas from Chandi Path and the songs were then sung by other artists. It was first played in All India radio early in the morning.From that small beginning ,it has flourished even a gap of long 75 years .

Now to my usual stuff of Recipes .

Cottage Cheese Pudding

I Have posted few months back a recipe about cake being baked in Pressure Cooker .Here

Steamed Cupcake .

This time keeping in mind few of the queries made on that post , I have tried making Cheese Pudding in Pressure Cooker , it just came out so well and flavorful , I could not resist posting about it .
This recipe worked fine for me, as the amount of egg to cheese was very proportionate, with a dash of lemon zest; it has a lemony flavor also. It was one of the Moist, spongy and soft Cheese pudding and was liked very much by my family.
I am going to make it again during this Durga Puja.

2 -2 ½ cups of cottage Cheese
¾ cup of sugar (add according to preferable sweetness )
2 tbs of Brandy (optional if making for kids avoid it)
2 tbs of all purpose flour
1 tsp of vanilla essence
2 -3 tsp of grated orange zest or lemon zest
¼ cup of raisins
4 eggs
¼ tsp of baking powder
Pinch of salt

Separate egg white from egg yolks .Foam the egg white in mixer/blender for 5 mints at high speed.

Making Of Paneer(Cottage Cheese )

Bring ½ litre of whole milk to boil in a pot .
Add citric acid (easily available at the local grocer in India) or You can squeeze in Juice of 1 lemon .Or use the ready-made juice in small plastic lemon available in Wallmarts and Krogers.
Stir for few mints and let the milk curdle, Let it cool and then sieve the Paneer(Cottage Cheese ) and tie in Muslin cloth(If you have your old cotton saree or chiffon Duppatas , just cut out 6*6 inch piece from it and use instead of muslin cloth , It is much more handy for me in time of need , always Reuse and Recycle) Hung at a minimum height .I generally tie that in the Kitchen sink Tap .
After 1hrs, slowly take out the Cheese from the cloth.

Please Note -A great Substitute for Cottage Cheese would be Ricotta Cheese at room temperature.

Making of Pudding

Preheat the Pressure cooker for 3-4 mints at high, and then lower the flame.
Mix in the Cheese, All purpose flour, Sugar, vanilla essence and egg yolk in mixer for 1-2 mints,at low speed.
Take out in a vessel, Mix in baking Powder, Lemon Zest (Tip- you can use sweet lime zest also, this add a great fruity and lemony flavor) and egg whites, mix well.
Grease an aluminum vessel with refined oil or canola oil. (I didn’t had one so used steel vessel instead of aluminum one)
Shift the entire thing to the utensil. Decorate with raisins or cashews

Very carefully place the vessel inside the pressure cooker as it is now hot.

There are possibly two ways of making Pudding inside a Pressure Cooker.
One is use of water, so that the moisture is retained and the pudding in cooked slowly on steam.
Other way is just opposite, like making a cake, with out adding water, and cook according a cake is baked.
I followed both of them, and found out that while the first way round its more like a moistened and soft pudding ,but the second one , which was a real surprise tastes more like cake which is very spongy and flavorful and more like a bundt cake .My better half liked this way more flavorful than made with the first method.
I would suggest you to try making the dish both the way.

Well Of course there is the conventional way

Bake the pudding at 300 deg for 45 mints. Use eight 1cup ramekins or custard cups or a casserole for this purpose .
Bake till the wooden tester inserted in centre comes out clean.

All said and done, now cover the cooker with lid but without whistle or weight.
Seal it and then lower the flame, cook the pudding at low for 40- 45 mints.

Take out only when the cooker is cooled, do not open the cooker before it.
Now flip the vessel over a greased plate, Don’t worry if some of it get stuck at the base of vessel.( Just soak the vessel in water for 1 hrs , the stubborn left-over gets easily cleaned)
This one is packed with right content of protein, good for toddlers and growing children.

One More Close look.

Cooking From Passionate Cooks Links
I guess my taking Pics is not very Important as these recipes are it self completely well written with Pics , Please Visit their lovely sites for more detailed recipe and instruction.

Lemon Rice Lemon Rice By Indira at Mahanandi - Excellent recipe with easy to follow Guidelines, I made that for Dinner and It came out great , enjoyed by each and every member of my family .

Prawn Biryani Malabar Style Prawn Biryani By SHN at Mish-Mash – She makes it a point to write recipe in details , and with that much of clarity , nothing can go wrong .Biryani was a hit and we thoroughly enjoyed , Again a keeper recipe .
Thanks for sharing some good recipes.
Enjoy the festival Of Joy , navaratri and Durga Puja ,make loads of goodies for loved ones.
Happy cooking Friends .

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Hearty Fish Curry

Marriage is just like walking on a tight rope , its all about balance , comfort and compatibility .This is a great institution where two people with varied interests one form Venus and other from Mars work together to raise a family .
Knowing a stranger, sharing room and home with him or her, and then working on with little differences is itself an endless journey.Some long arguments on pity and silly issues like how to cut cauliflowers small or into big florets (trust me even more silly than this) ,these are all small packets and parcels of a married life , when delivered you have to accept it with true spirit .

Often surprises keeps this relationship live and happening, it sometimes gives immense pleasure to discover a new thing about your partner, the inner qualities and virtues which are some how shielded from the outer world.
My spouse says he doesn’t know cooking, and yes that’s true also , For these married years I have known it very well .He is least interested in what’s being cooked in kitchen and even on my blog , doesn’t even glance once what I write and post .
But when He came up with this recipe for fish fry or rather fish curry, I was bowled over. I was surprised and I asked him are you sure you haven’t told me the truth.
I was just left with a mischievous smile only.
From start to finish, each and every ingredients, marination time and cooking process, he told and I followed, with his little help also in cutting and chopping, the dish was ready and enjoyed with great pleasure .These are very rare moments when my better half take out time to do these things or rather help me cook .
I do personally think that these little things gives much joy than going to lavish hotels for candle light dinner and spending fortunes just to impress .
Well I have decided to dedicate this recipe and post to hubby dear .Thanks S to be with me in every walk of my life. On a lighter note ,Hope You starts seeing my blog more often now.

A Hearty Fish curry
Fish Curry /Doi mach
Fish 8 pieces (Rui /Katla )
2 medium size onions
8 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger piece
Make a smooth paste of garlic and ginger in a mixer
Coconut ¼ cups
Make a smooth paste of coconut and 2 onions.
(Coconut milk can also be added as a substitute for fresh coconut, but not in marination add at the time of cooking the fish)
Yogurt 4 heaped tbs
1 tsp Turmeric powder
2 ½ tsp of Red pepper powder
1 lemon
4 -5 heaped tbs of mustard oil

Clean the fish pieces and marinate with turmeric powder and salt, red pepper powder, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, onion- coconut paste. Squeeze in 1 lemon juice to the marinated fish pieces, Coat with spices and Paste evenly , set aside .
This Marination should be kept for 2hrs, not less than that.
Heat up a kadai/heavy bottom pan, add mustard oil and fry the fish pieces at med slowly batch of 4 at a time, take out and drain.
Now add all the left over paste and salt if desired and fried fish pieces to the left-over mustard oil which was used for frying the fish , do this step at low flame , add more oil if needed apporx 2 tbs , I have added that much of extra oil ,If you compromise on this aspect , you are going to miss a great flavor of mustard in the fish curry .

cover, cook at low for ½ hrs, Sufficient time to cook the fish provided its fresh, If using Frozen Fillets, little less time will be taken, cook accordingly.
Serve with warm cooked rice.

This Recipe is going to Original Recipes -Monthly Event at Culinarty.

Happy Cooking Friends , Enjoy this festive season with your loved ones .

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pineapple Chutney and Panch Mishori Dal(Five lentil Dal)

The festive time of the year, with Durga Puja round the corner, Everything is soaked in the spirit of festivity .
The Parar (Street) Thakurer Pandal have been put up, at least the Frame work has been going on full swing. People patiently joining long bamboos, woods and clothes , nailing them and then putting the frame , on which the décor will be made , some good wooden works and many more interesting things .

Pandal is the home (abode) for Goddess Durga for those important four days of shashti right after Bodhon to saptomi, ashtami and navami till VisarJan(immersion of Goddess in Ganges) .

These pandals are pre –planned and well coordinated to give them huge shape or even made into replica of world famous monuments , buildings or even incidents .Each Puja Pandal is based on some theme also and is a pure delight for artists and common people as well .These are such sheer passion and creativity personified .

There is a small village Dinajpur where people are making and carving patterns on the lengths of bamboo and over 1000 such designs are required for a Puja Pandal in Kolkata .
And then Some of them making bird nest like the tailor Birds do, That is going to be used for the décor of a puja pandal .Now that’s the epitome of creativity.
If you pass any street, road, you will come across at least five puja pandal. Under different youth organization often called here as Clubs like chaltabagan jovok sangha or a Balak vrinda sangha .

We see the fully made , lighted puja pandals , but we literally never realize that it required so many hands to join them and put the gorgeous large Puja Pandal come alive.
People are now going for the last minute shopping .Visit New market , College street and there is just mad rush every where .Even Local TV Channels are showing the reverse countdown with each passing days .All geared up and ready to welcome Maa Durga with all the much fanfare and gaiety.
Festivity brings many fond memories also, that include pandal hopping and gorging street foods.While we would be dressed in crisp new clothes and trendy shoes and then the entire schedule would be planned to visit most happening Puja pandals .We would often end up discussing which puja pandal appealed to us most , sometimes even ending up on a sweet little fight .Those were so lovely days , days to enjoy and cherish .

This year also we all are looking forward to the much awaited festival of shakti puja , the victory of goodness over evil , victory of light over darkness .

Jago Jago Jago Maa

Jago Jago Tumi Jago

Jago Durga Jago dasha Praharono Dharini

Abhaya Shakti Bhalo Prayadayani tumi Jago
Jago Tumi Jago .......................

These are Part of lyrics of a devotional Song that is included in MahishashurMardini .

Let’s invoke Goddess Durga to bestow us her blessings and Show the right path that leads us to peace and Tranquility.

Now to the Recipes........

Annaroser Chutney/Pineapple Chutney

Pineapple 10 15 pieces
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1dry red pepper
2bay leaf
¾ cup of sugar ( add as per your taste)
pinch of salt
1 tbs of mustard oil

temper hot mustard oil with mustard seeds , dry red pepper , bay leaf add pineapple pieces , sauté for 1 mints and add salt and sugar , ½ cup of water , cover and cook at low for 10 mints or till the pineapples are cooked .Taste before you serve .

Panch Mishori Dal/Panch ratan Dal ( Five Jewel Dal)

Lentils are good source of protein and provide essential nourishment.
Here is a simple recipe for panch mishori dal (five lentil stew ), that’s often being made in our house , but never occurred to my senses to post about it .Five Jewel lentil stew is a combination of urad , masoor, arhar/toor ,moong and chana dal and which is tempered with cumin seeds ,ginger paste and green chilly .Sometimes chopped onions are also added , but we generally don’t add onions to it .

Panch Mishori Dal/Panch Mel dal /Panch Ratan Dal

¼ cup arhar dal /pigeon peas
¼ cup moong Dal/split greem moong
¼ cup chana dal/split Bengal dal
¼ cup Urad dal
¼ cup masoor dal

Tempering and Flavoring
1tsp of cumin seeds
2 bay leaf
1tsp of turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp of red pepper powder
2-3 green chilly slit in between
2 tsp of ginger paste
1 tomato chopped
½ tsp of aamchur powder (optional)
Clean the lentils and then wash thoroughly in water 2-3 times .
Transfer the entire lentil mixture in Pressure cooker and add 2 -3 cup of water let it cook for 2 mints at high , discard the white froth that gets formed .
Now add little bit of more water , enough to submerge the lentils .
Add turmeric powder and salt, cover the pressure cooker , one whistle at high and lower the flame , let the lentils cook for 7-10 mints at low .
Let the pressure subside and then open the cover, check if water is required, if so add a little warm water . Add the aamchur powder ,if you dont feel like, skip it .

Flavoring and tempering the Ghee
Meanwhile heat up a kadai , add ghee , add cumin seeds , bay leaf , fry for some time .
Add ginger paste, chopped tomato and green chilies , fry them for 2-3 mints .
Transfer the masala /tadka to the cooked gravy and cook at low for 2mints.
Serve with warm cooked rice.
Happy Cooking Friends

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oh! Ilish (Hilsa) - A Culinary Delight

Monsoon and ilish are two synonyms for Bengal. Monsoon spells its magic on us and we get hooked to ilish
Ilish macher paturi, bhapa or a simple bhaja .You name it and you get it here in Bengal.
It’s said no part of ilish fish is wasted, from ilish macher tel to dim or egg, macher moro or fish head, everything is so savory and is fondly eaten too. This fish is high in fat content and the oil that comes out after frying this fish is also used in fish curries and chorchori .

What makes this fish so popular , I guess to me is the taste which is enhanced by the high content of fat or oil. However this fish is little costly on your pocket , an average Ilish will result you spending around Rs 300-400 Per Fish and a normal fully grown fish would weight around say 800 Gms .Well as this is so costly , people are rarely seen eating them on a regular basis. Few years ago the picture was different and during monsoon , Puja time Hilsa used to be the most saleable fish of the season .

Well My FIL has seen this Fish being sold at Rs 4-5 per fish , and I really wonder with these growing cost and little supply ,will our future generation will ever see this fish or will it remain a tale of Grandparents .

Preparing this fish with some shorshe (mustard paste) is the most traditional way of preparing, however there are some new experiments also going on like grilled hilsa or like smoked boneless steak and even Ilish Korma, Ilish biryani and so on.

One interesting debate goes on is whether the Ilish from Padma tastes better than the ilish from Ganga , Well I leave it to “you all” the lovers of ilish to decide .

Here I am Posting Four Recipes at one go which revolves round Ilish or hilsa .

Shorshe Ilish (Hilsa cooked in chilly Mustard Paste )

Shorshe ilish
serves for 4
Hilsa fried fish- 5 pieces
1tsp of turmeric powder
2tsp of red pepper powder
3-4 tsp of mustard paste
3-4 green chilly
1 tsp of salt
2-3 tbs of mustard oil or the oil that comes out after frying the fish

Add to the fry pan/kadai /wok ,all the above-turmeric powder,red pepper powder and salt and 1 cup of water except green chilly and mustard paste.let it come to a boil.
(Prepare the mustard paste with little salt , green chilly, little bit of water and mustard in Mixer or refer this recipe -
*(Mustard Seeds – quarter cup
Make a smooth paste in Sheel Nora, or
Grind it in mixer with enough water, 2 Green chilly ,salt and 1 fat garlic pod into an even paste, -grinding in mixer sometimes end up making the paste bitter.
TIP- you can dry grind the mustard seeds approx ½ cup at one go, store in a air tight plastic vessel , don’t let moisture set in , then while preparing the curries add accordingly with little bit of water , salt and mustard oil .)*
Cover and lower the flame , cook for 5-7mints .
Add mustard paste at the end , TIP-do not heat anymore otherwise it may turn bitter , take out in a separate vessel , serve chopped coriander leaves .
Serve with warm rice and enjoy shorshe ilish .

Bhapa Ilish ( Steamed Hilsa with Chilly Mustard paste)

Bhapa is just the same with ingredients , except the gravy is cooked on a water bath or steamed and the fish pieces are raw, sometimes cumin seeds are also added while making mustard seeds paste.
For the simple way , in a kadai, add water upto half  mark, place and check the steel box in which you want to make bhapa , make sure it is at least half submerged in water.
Add all the ingredients and little more water and drizzle about half a cup of mustard oil  ,2-3 green chilly slit in between  , coat well the raw fish with this marination ,transfer them to steel box , cover it.

Now transfer that to kadai with water , place a heavy weight over it (generally it’s the shil-nora ), lower the flame and cook for 35-45 mints ,meanwhile if the water dries out add more gently by the sides ,or better add in extra in the beginning .let it cool off and then open and serve with warm rice .
This is how my Granmother always used to prepare Ilish Macher Bhapa .
Fish pieces cooked with this way are delicate and often tear out while taking out , but that’s OK , after all its Hilsa anyway .

Ilish Macher Jhaal ( Hilsa Fish Curry )

Macher Jhaal
Serves for 4
Mustard Seeds – quarter cup
Make a smooth paste in Sheel Nora, or
Grind it in mixer with enough water, 2 Green chilly ,salt and 1garlic pod into an even paste, grinding in mixer sometimes end up making the paste bitter.
TIP- you can dry grind the mustard seeds approx ½ cup at one go, store in a air tight plastic vessel , don’t let moisture set in , then while preparing the curries add accordingly with little bit of water , salt and mustard oil .This will be very useful and it will not end up being bitter .
2 medium size potatoes – cut into long pieces
Brinjal or eggplant – 1 cut into long pieces, makes upto 12 pieces from 1 long brinjal
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp of Red pepper powder (add less for less spice as the mustard paste has green chilly also)
1tsp of cumin seeds
4 heaped tbs of mustard oil
1tsp of salt and for marinating
Clean the fish pieces and marinate with turmeric powder and salt,
Heat up a kadai/heavy bottom pan, add oil and fry the fish pieces at med , batch of 4 at a time, take out and drain.
Now if required add more mustard oil , otherwise hilsa fish releases quite a lot of oil while its being fried which is sufficient for this curry so its better to utilize that oil in the gravy .
Add cumin seeds, let it splutter.
Add potatoes and fry at med for 3 mints, add salt, turmeric powder and red pepper powder and add 1 cup of water ( add more water if you think you need a patla jhol )
Add cut brinjal pieces and fried fish pieces, cover and cook the fish till potatoes become soft .
At the end , add mustard seeds paste and take out in a separate vessels .
TIP- please do not cook fish gravy after adding mustard seed paste as it will end up making the gravy bitter .

Ilish macher Dim Bhaja ( Hilsa fish's egg Fry/Fried Fish Roe)

Serves For 5

Fish roe- 2
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of salt
2 tbs of besan .
3 tbs of mustard oil


First wash the egg with sac/roe gently in water , handle the egg sac with care , make sure it doesn’t get ripped of .
Now marinate with turmeric powder , salt .
Coat well with Besan ,Tip- this will make the frying easy .
Heat up kadai , add mustard oil, release the egg sac one at a time gemtly and quickly lower the flame , fry the side for 5-6 mints at low, flip the side gently and fry at low for 7mints .
Take out and drain in paper towels ,serve with onions or warm cooked rice , we prefer the later .

Another way my mom does is mix in egg with besan, salt,turmeric powder and make small round patties , gently press them and fry at low for 4 -5 mints at low .

Other Hilsa Related Post

Khichuri and Ilish (Hilsa) Macher Bhaja
Puin Shaaker Chorchori

Happy Cooking Friends