Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Year That Was

The year that was, all filled with high emotions, ups and downs is preparing to leave now.
We have seen for the first time how a simple next to door guy can show us to be a winner at olympics.
Then the somersaulting of economy, recession, jobs cut down and many more.
We have seen how many lives changed post 26/11 in Mumbai , a haunting trauma and politicians making mockery of our sentiments.
And there was a history in making ,Barack Obama elected President of USA.

As a food blog, my journey completed two years Here .
Then I tried making some good Bengali fish dishes Bhetki fish curry and Hilsa fish recipes and Pabda fish curry and Mochar Ghonto to name a few.
And then the vegetarian dishes also like a typical UP dish Nimona and Chorchori which is so fondly eaten in Bengal ,and Notey Posto labra , and also Handi Paneer and Paneer manpasand .
And then some funny moments as well Chicken Biryani post .
Well even I liked making Steamed cakes , and then Hubby Dears contribution Hearty fish curry which was a sweet surprise.

It was yesterday, the incidents that are part of past now, but the memories are still fresh.

Good thing is that I discovered many new blogs, many of them kindly thought to stop by; I followed the link and found out so many new recipes, cultures to explore.
This gives immense pleasure to post recipes, cook food and take snaps.

So,lets now hope for the best in coming year, may the new year brings us more success, peace and prosperity.
Let’s hope for the change this coming year, as hope gives faith, faith leads to directions and directions leads to goals.Goals that needs to be reached and wishes that lay still unfulfilled.
On this positive note.

Let’s hope the coming year is peaceful and prosperous.

Wish everybody a Happy New Year

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dates Tomato Chutney and Happy Christmas

Let me first wish everybody a happy Christmas .May God Bless everybody and let there be peace and prosperity in earth.
Well we were busy decorating our small Christmas tree.My little one was more than happy to help me out decorating the tree.Her little wish was fulfilled by Santa this year .When she woke up it was a cute, lovely doll that was waiting for her. Her granparents were the real Santa this time!!

Now to the recipe, this is tomato chutney, made with dates, raisins and mango candies, called aamsatto in Bengali.
Bengali’s love this tomatorer Chutney and it stays fresh for 3-4 days and even taste better the other day.

Dates Raisin Tomato Chutney
3-4 tomatooes chopped

1 cup of dates ,seeds should be taken out for better.
½ cup of raisins, and Aamsatto
½ cup of sugar or as per taste
Some water

In a large pan/kadhai, add chopped tomatoes, dates and raisins(Kish-mish)
Add in sugar+ some water+aamsatto
Now lower the flame and cover
Cook for 7-10 mints at low

Take out and let it cool.
Store in refrigerator, stays fresh for 3-4 days.

Wish Everybody a Very Happy Christmas .Let there be peace and prosperity on earth.
Happy cooking friends


Mango candie or mango leather is a dried and sweetened mango pulp.
Generally the pulp is taken out after peeling the skin,pureed and it’s sweetened either by jaggery or cane sugar, and then its smeared on a gresed plate .This is then sun-dried for 6-8 days depending on the availability of sunlight.
On the other hand, its possible to make it in a conventional oven just like some people make sun-dried tomato, or roasting of vegetables .One thing that should be kept in mind is the temperature and duration of drying .Its always good to make it at low temperatures kind of very slow process.
Or any fruit pectin can be used for making mango candie also.

This chutney is most flavorful if made with sundried mango leather or aamsotto.I am sure mango leather is available in Indian Grocery Stores as aam papri .

Happy Cooking Friends

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Celebrating Two Years of Blogging with Kalakand

One fine Morning, a little sparrow was woken up by the soft, yellowish, sun-ray shining through its nest, her home. Her mother had gone out,to get food for her.
She was curious, her eyes blinking to the vast blue sky. She decided to explore the world all by herself. It was difficult to fly through those spiky branches of mango tree.She did spread her wings and tried to soar off from the branch, but couldn’t. Another try, she tried to run few steps and then glided her wings against the winds, but she again failed. She tried it for several times this way, but was unable to fly.
Next day, she asked her Mother, how she was able to fly and cover so long distances.
Her mother replied,” My child, it’s your sheer will power, that guides you to rise against the winds and of course a little practice also."
She asked in amusement,” Will you help me to fly.”
Her Mother replied,” I will be there for you always, and will definitely help you to fly.”
That day, after few hours of trial and error, some bruises and some hugs, the little sparrow took her first flight of fantasy. Her flight was very short lived from one branch of mango tree to another branch, little away, but that gave her immense pleasure and satisfaction, that she was able to fly finally.
Little steps now taken will help her to fly high many miles. A little assurance from her mother will make her strong and ready to face the wind.

We all need that much of inspiration and help in our difficult situations. I must thank my Mother also for helping me out whenever I was clueless about certain things in my life.
Her valuable feedback while I was trying out dishes in my kitchen, separated many miles away.

This Blog was started as a hobby first .Here is My First Post , just to keep records of what I was cooking at that time and also to recollect the tips and technique my Mother and Mother-in-law gave to me unconditionally. Slowly it took some serious turns; I started experimenting with new ingredients, techniques, and also was juggling around to retain the Traditional Bengali cooking.
I have found it only helped me to grow as a cook, as a person.

Over the period of time, I have also come to know many good blogger friends, and some good blogs with treasure of good recipes.
On completing two years in blogging, I must extend my heartfelt warm wishes to everybody who loves coming to here.Read my post, give valuable comments or suggestion, or just drop by to say a simple “Hi”, have subscribed and check my posts even by e-mails.Thanks to all of you for standing besides me and trying out recipes from here.

I am still learning and it says learning is a continuous process, it never stops.”
So, let’s now move to the recipe,

Kalakand is a sweet, which is so fondly eaten by elders and young ones in our home.
This is made entirely of milk and its product Paneer (Cottage Cheese), the mixture is slowly cooked, stiring continuously on a deep bottomed pan/wok/kadhai to get a dry crumbly mixture which is then cooled and cut into cubes.The main point that should be noted while making this sweet is the thickening of milk called as Kheer in Bengali and Khoya in Hindi.Now For this method one has to be little patient, as this involves a little working up, stirring milk in Pan.The thickened milk is the key to a good kalakand.I have added condensed milk also ,which imparts a nice flavor and since the sugar is already high in condensed milk, the need to add extra sugar is very less.
I hope you all try making it once.

Serves 10-12 pieces

Ingredients 500 ml or 4 cups of milk
750 ml of milk to make paneer or 2 cups of home-made paneer
Half tin of condensed milk
3-4 heaped tbs of sugar
1tsp of cardamom powder

Making of Paneer (home-made cottage cheese)

Bring the milk to boil, add some –leftover sour Curd/yogurt or lemon juice or citric acid.
Stir and let the milk curdle up.Let it cool.
Take out the paneer in a muslin cloth; hang in to discard the water/whey.
Making of kalakand
Tip-Use a deep bottomed pan/Kadhai
Bring to boil half liter of whole milk, now reduce the heat, let it simmer till it reduces to half.Stir in while the milk is thickening.
At this time add condensed milk, sugar TIP- as condensed milk is sweet itself, its better to add less sugar.Taste it and if you feel ,then only add more sugar.
Mix in well and stir it continuously.
In a separate bowl, crumble the Paneer with spoon or thoroughly washed hands.
Add crumbled paneer to the above mix and stir well so that it doesn't stick to base.
At this time the mixture in pan will be little watery, cook it at low to medium flame so that the paneer/milk mixture dries up.
Grease a plate with ghee/oil and gently take out the mixture over it.
Let it cool and then refrigerate till it gets firm.
Take out and cut into cubes.Serve with chopped pistachio or almonds or raisins which ever way you prefer.
This is going to meet fellow recipes at Happy Cook's home event ,please visit here for more details ~ ~ Home-Event .This is a nice event Happy has come up with to celebrate her Blog anniversary.

and to Yummy Food , visit here for more details ~~ FIC . Food-in-Color is a very well known food event started originally by Sunshinemom, now her baby is being adopted by Kitchen Flavors for this month....
Check out both the food events for more details.

Happy Cooking Friends

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Amaranth Leaves Stir/Fry(Notey Posto Labra)

Green leafy vegetables play an important role in our overall diet. Amaranth or Amaranthus is one of them. It has many sub-species of red, green, pinkish, deep brown etc…
But popularly it’s the green small leaves that are eaten fondly in northern part and Andhra Pradesh as Thota Kura in India. In eastern UP, India; it is known as Chaulai in local/regional language.Amaranthus leaves are packed with goodness of nutritional component, but other than the leaves, it’s the seeds /grains that are also eaten.
More info about Amaranth, Visit Here

This is a very Traditional way of preparing Notey or Amaranthus leaves in Bengal an eastern region in India with poppy seeds paste. Bengalis love to eat it with warm cooked rice. Here is how we prepare Notey Posto Labra.

Posto diye Notey shaker Labra

1 bunch Amaranth
1 medium size potato
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1tsp of red pepper powder (add more for more hotness)
1 -2 tsp of panch phoron(or can add kalounji/nigella seeds)
1 tsp of sugar
2-3 tbs of mustard oil


Prepare the Poppy seed Paste

In a grinder add the Poppy seeds, little bit of water and little bit of butter, to make a smooth paste. You may add liitle bit of roasted Peanuts with it also to make it even creamier.

Prepare the stir/Fry

Clean the green leaves of Amaranth, discard torn or wilted leaves. Clean the chopped leaves thoroughly in water 2-3 times to get rid of mud /sand if any.
Heat up kadhai or any heavy bottom Pan/Wok ,add mustard oil , add the panch phoron mix , let it splutter.
Now add diced, cubed potatoes .Fry it for 1-2 mints at high.
Add turmeric powder, red pepper powder, salt, sugar.
Add the cleaned leaves of green Amaranth.
Cook at high for 2-3 mints, lower the flames and cover the kadhai/Pan.
Cook the leaves till soft and deep-green in color. Now add the pre –prepared poppy seed paste. stir/fry and cover, cook another 4-5 mints.
Mash it well to evenly consistency to have the Labra Texture,or you can leave it that way.
Take out in a bowl and have it with rice or roti.

This is going to Ivy at ~ Kopiaste... ,visit here to see more ~Weekend Herb Blogging #161 / and do visit Halo at ~ Cook Almost Anything for further details .

Happy Cooking Friends