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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bye-Bye 2009 -Welcome 2010

It has been a whirlwind ride for us this year.We relocated to a new city in a new continent .And relocations,are always a major issue with me as settling down in a new place gives me chill.So far it seems Ok for us, my daughter has settled well in her new school . As far as I am concerned ,initial few months was difficult ,now I have slowly started liking the place, It is not something wow! for me but not bad as compared to initial months when I was feeling terribly homesick.
Hubby seems to be little satisfied now ,as he can see a better me and our daughter compared to initial few months where he can easily sense a discomfort.
When I was in my growing years OK teen years , if I can remember perfectly every year end on 31 dec or may be 30 dec,there used to be a special telecast of news capsule based on the events that happened throughout the year. That was something I never missed and I just loved my old DD days. and then sometimes in middle of “Chitrahaar” on Wednesday or Friday , all of a sudden a placard would come on the screen reading “Rokavat ke Liye Khed hai” or Sorry For the Interuption.
Indian televisioin industry was just coming into life then and it was pure and novice entertainment .Now we see many hybirids of “Hum Log “, “Buniyaad” “Mahabharat” and “Ramayan”,but the warmth of that good old DD days is missing!!

Keeping in mind that news event in 30 minute capsule ,here is the list of recipes I made during this year.This is my last post of this year and my 1 post news er .. recipes capsule.If you have missed anything then just go ahead and enjoy.
Korai dal'er bora -dal fritters this was my first post of year 2009.
Noton Gurer payesh
Gota Sheddo traditional Gota sheddu prepared during Saraswati Puja.
Methi Matar Malai , this is one of most viewed recipe of spice and curry.
Prawn Fritters
Shoro Chakli- another dosa variation
Fish fritters
Home made Jam
Cauliflower dal and Ol bhate
Liver spicy fry
Shrimp rice pulao and Chicken curry
Corn mango salsa
Omellete curry
Niramish Jhol
bhetki Mach'er chop and lao Shake'er chorchori
Beet shake'er Chorchori
Mughlai Murg Mussallam
Pomfret Fish Curry
Honey Cake
Whole wheat Burger
Mishti Doi- Sweetened Curd
laziz Lauki Kofta Curry
baked Spicy Mustard haddock
Pistachio Lemon Biscotti
apple buns
Mangetout Spicy fry
Black Forest cake
Beet Rice Pulao -this recipe got mentioned in NYTimes foodblog by Mark Bittaman.
and the lunch Box Recipes which was truly satisfying journey ,a great satisfaction on my part that at least I tried to made all of it by myself and I am glad many of you liked it.
Lunch box recipes 1
(beet jhal,Phulkopi diye bhetki jhaal ,dal )
lunch box recipes 2
(neem begun,seem bandhakopi chorchori, parshe macher jhaal and dal )
lunch box recipe 3
(Arhar Ki dal, Koraishuti tomato diye rui macher jhaal ,bodi diye phulkopir jhaal )
Lunch box recipe 4
(dal, aloor dom, rui macher jhaal and pepein bhate)
Lunch Box recipes 5
(Notey posto ,panch mishori dal and ,begun phulkopir jhaal)
Lunch Box recipes 6
(Potol Diye Pona macher Jhaal,dal and notey chorchori )
Lunch box recipes 7
(Sheem posto,begun beans bodi diye jhaal and dal)

This post is going to Srivalli at Cooking For All Season , visit here for more details -Best of 2009

So this it friends, lets hope new year will be peaceful ,happy and prosperous for us.
Bye Bye 2009 ,Welcome 2010
Happy New Year to all of YOU

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mangetout Diye Shokno Torkari(Snow Peas Spicy fry)


There are many vegetables which I want to cook but don’t get fresh supply here like potol/parwal and jhinge/ridge gourd.If I have a choice of using fresh vegetables or frozen, I would certainly pick fresh and that would include any new vegetables or vegetables grown locally.When I went for grocery shopping came across this vegetables, it’s striking green and smooth texture made me all curious.Later I realized that this is green pea pod or in common snow pea or Mangetout known locally .This vegetable is great in any Chinese stir/fry and can be eaten boiled (bhate-bhat)also.So thought of including this in my simple dinner ,Torkari(subzi).I added some beans and potatoes to make a shokno torkari(dry stir/fry).This was a delicious discovery for me.Another way which we like eating this vegetable ,is with mustard+poppy seed paste.This always remind me of Shorshe Sheem.If you want the recipe then go here and in place of Sheem(Hyacinth) add snow peas… Recipe for Sheem Shorshe


Another way we like this vegetables is having with our Chinese noodles stir/fry.Snow peas/Mangetrout(Pisum sativum) belongs to fabaceae family.This is a usual vegetarian recipe , a kind of dry fry with beans/potato/mangetrout .Mangetout is available in packets here.



Mangetout diye Shokno Torkari
Serves 2-3
Mangetout- 15-16 whole
1 potato –cut into long pieces
Beans half packet or 200 gms
Seasoning
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of cumin seeds
Salt as per taste
Oil for frying the vegetables-2 tbs
1 tsp of cumin seeds for tempering
Method
Cut and prepare the vegetables .Clean them in water.
Heat up a saucepan, add oil .
Add in cumin seeds, let it splutter
Add the vegetables , stir/fry them well
Add all the seasoning, sprinkle some water, lower the flame and cook approx 7-8 mints or vegetables are cooked.Serve with warm cooked rice or roti which ever way you like.
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Happy Cooking Friends

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Black Forest Cake and Merry Christmas



Black Forest Cake is traditionally a German desert .Now in around 16 th centuary probably the cake or pudding was served with kirschwasser liquer( an alcohol based liquer or a double distilled cherry brandy made from the sour Morello cherry).
This cake was first believed to be made around 16 the of century in a German black forest region ( Der Schawrzwald in Germany) located in the state of Baden –Wurttemberg.Americans tried , making this cake without the liquer later and named this "black forest cake" .

I always feel that we cannot bind recipes in few lines.As the recipe travels, so is the culture with it ,from one home to another or for that matter from one continent to another.It evolves with due course of time and that is the beauty of any cuisine that it absorbs/adapt everything that comes it’s way.

Yesterday, I baked this cake and used cherry nector in place of kirschwasser liquer.The recipe is adapted from Here





I almost halved the buttercream frosting as we are not too fond of that much of cream in our cakes , however I do feel cream enhances the overall flavour of the cake if you wish to go along with the original recipe.

I used fresh cherries and in fact was planning to soak them overnight in cherry nector (for that soft touch) somehow forget to do it the other night.So,while I was preparing our morning breakfast yesterday ,  pitted and cleaned the cherries and then soaked them in cherry nector.

Made the cake in afternoon.If you are planning to make the cake with fresh cherries,I would recommend ,soaking them overnight .However the other way its’ best to use canned ,pitted cherries or even better to use any cherry pie filling available in jars.

I frosted the left-over cake in refrigerator also , just wrapped the plastic cling over it and freezed it.This way it will stay fresh upto a week.And did I mentioned ,that the cake tasted even better today as the flavours were well incorporated.
This turn out a nice Christmas Cake ,Or a delicious cake for “Boro Din”in Bengali.

Now to the recipe
Black Forest Cake
Ingredients

  • 1 and 2/3 cup of flour
  • 2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 and ½ tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ½ cup of butter/Shortening
  • 1 and ¼ cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 and ½ cup of plain yogurt
  • For the dressing/frosting/filling
  • ½ cup of kirsch or cherry nector and some more to soak them.
  • ¼ cup of butter
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 tsp of strong brewed coffee(optional)
  • 2 cans pitted cherries or fresh cherries
  • ¾ cup of heavy whipped cream
  • 1 square milk chocolate
Method

  • Preheat oven to 175 deg celcius deg C.
  • Meanwhile sift the flour and add baking soda,cocoa powder,salt.
  • Cream together butter and sugar.
  • Now add eggs one by one and then yogurt mixing  in gently all.
  • Then add the flour mixture, fold in gently.
  • Prepare two round 9 inch cake tins , divide the cake batter equally and bake them for 30-35 mints depending on the oven.If a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in cake, the cake has been baked well, other wise transfer it again into machine and bake till the cake is done.
  • Take out and cool.
  • Cut the cakes in half horizontally.
  • Make the filling
  • Cream butter and then add confectioner’s sugar/icing sugar to it and then add whipped cream and 1tsp brewed coffee (optional)
  • Now sprinkle the kirsch or cherry nector evenly over each layer.Let it rest for about half an hour.
  • Spread the filling evenly and then top it with chopped cherries.
  • Layer rest of half cake rounds like this way and top it with rest of the buttercream frosting
  • Sprinkle and decorate with the chocolate shavings.


One more Close look


Note-

  • I used cherry nector in place of kirsch
  • I Reduced the icing sugar and whipped cream to make the buttercream frosting,if you want thick layers of cream ,then go ahead and increase it upto 2-2 ½ cups of cream and 3 cups of icing sugar and upto half3/4 cup of butter.
  • Used fresh cherries in place of canned ones, just soaked them in kirch or cherry nector overnight for the real soft texture.Although I have little time so soaked them for 3 hrs prior of making the cake.
  • With a potato peeler , take out chocolate shavings and spread evenly over the cake.
  • Use the pointed tip of potato peeler for pitting the fresh cherries.



updated
6/01/10
Made today again but made some changes.This is the measurements for one cake


  • 2/3 cup + 1tbs+1 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup of butter
  • ½ + ¼ tsp of baking soda
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup of yogurt
  • ½ tsp of vanilla essence
  • For frosting I reduced the above frosting recipe which I made earlier.
  • Cut the cake into half,sprinkle cherry nector evenly, spread chopped cherries and buttercream frosting evenly also , decorate with chocolate shavings+some cherries,enjoy!!


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Happy Cooking and Happy Christmas

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Apple Buns and it snowed finally


It snowed here on thursday night and I couldn’t stop myself from taking this picture .Well we are hoping to see white Christmas, lets see how things turn out.Its always a pleasure to see snowflakes coming down from sky as if God is sprinkling white cotton on earth.

I asked my daughter while we were watching snowflakes coming down, thro our window “What do you think we get snow from”, before she could say ,I started explaining that God has decided to bring snow to earth as Santa is coming.
She stopped me abruptly and said promptly," no mamma , we get it from clouds !!"
She further added," when its not raining , it is going to snow as its very cold."
That left me with no choice of telling her all sweet stories related to snow.So I decided to do things ,I am little better at i.e. cooking .




Apples are in season these days, I mean good ,juicy apples .I came across this recipe Here ,of apple muffins from the Smitten Kitchen.It was just what I was looking for.
The main difference or rather was a mistake on my part that I baked them in bun tray and not the usual muffin tins so the result shape is little distorted , but the taste and flavour remians just perfect.They turn out very moist and soft with a hint of sourness due to the yogurt .It felt exactly muffin should taste.
Now the original recipe states to add butermilk,I didn’t had at the time for making them , so as suggested By Deb I added plain yogurt instead of buttermilk.
We had it as part of weekend brunch , and this was just too good, warm straight from the oven.



Apple Buns
Ingredients
1 cup of wheat flour /I used atta
1 cup of plain flour
1tsp of baking powder
1tsp of baking soda
Pinch of salt
½ cup of unsalted butter
¼ cup of sugar
½ cup of brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup of plain yogurt
2 large apples , peeled and coarsely chopped
Method
Preheat oven to 220 deg ,
Meanwhile add in the flour baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon powder.
Cream together butter and sugar and separate ¼ cup of brown sugar.
Now add egg and yogurt , mix in gently all.
Then add the flour mixture and apples and fold in gently.
Now scope out equal proportions of these into the muffins cups,sprinkle remaining brown sugar over these evenly , and bake for 10 mints .
Lower the oven temperature to 200 deg celcius and bake some more 5-7 mints till a toothpick when inserted into middle comes out clean.
Transfer to cool and enjoy.

One more close look


Note-
I added way too much of the mixture and so the result was oversized buns, many of them droping out of the muffin cups .Add upto ¾ to the muffin cups and leave the ¼ cup of space to let them rise up properly.This much of mixture yields 18-19 but I came out with 12 muffins.
Used salted butter so avoided adding anymore salt to it.
Used garam masala powder in place of cinnamon powder.
Happy Cooking

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pistachio Lemon Biscotti

Copenhegan is in news these days, lot of talks and discussion going on for climate change.While we were out in Central London for our usual weekend small tours, we landed up in Traflagar Square on Saturday.To our amusement ,ok also to my daughter’s amusement there was a sea of Santa there.Wondering about this and all curious , we went near to it , took some snaps,later we realized that they were protesting against global warming and climate change .They all shouted some slogans , don’t know what that was though .But some of them were in party mood with beer cans(Is beer cans bio-degradable?)We also happened to see a nice ice-sculpture of giant Polar Bear.Visit here for more details-- Ice Polar Bear
The ice sculpture was made on 11 th of December ,it will continue to be there upto 20 th of December to see and touch till it gradually melts away.This is all to depict the impact of global warming on earth.This is something incredible , while me and daughter were admiring ,touching the giant ice sculpture , one of the representative got in touch with my husband.They talked and my husband agreed to help out in small way giving little monetary benefits or donations to their funds. IF you also want to donate or know more then visit -- Here
That made me think, other than monetary benefits what are the other way we can help out to control global warming. I had started an event ,which got very few response, I am not surprised as these things always take back seat.If you feel , you may read it here --Save The Earth
Before I jump to the recipe, I must give you a rough idea that India is also on the radar of global warming( it is one of the few tipping points for global warming),recent drought affecting several states is just the tip of beginning. Think and act or it may be too late.
Since this is Christmas time ,I will be posting a simple biscotti recipe today, then in next post apple buns.
I don’t know exactly the difference between a cookie and a biscotti , but to me a biscotti is near to a cookie except the shape and the way it is baked or should I say twice baked.Butter and sugar is creamed together first and then the flour mixture is added gradually.baked to golden as long log/slab shape , then carefully it is cut into stripes of half to 1 inch of thickness.These slices are again baked till they are well toasted.



Pistachio Lemon Biscotti
Ingredients

1and 1 tbs cup –all purpose flour
¾ tsp of baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 egg
¼ cup of sugar(granulated cane sugar)
¼ cup of butter
½ tsp of fresh lemon zest
1 tbs of fresh lemon juice
¼ cup of shelled,chopped pistachio


Method
In a bowl,mix in flour,baking powder and salt
In a separate bowl, mix in sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Now beat in egg,lemon zest and juice thoroughly.Mix in chopped pistachios.
Now slowly add the flour mixture and keep mixing till all the flour mixture is used.
Divide the dough into two parts.On a prepared sheet,shape each portion to a somewhat rectangular log of about 1 ½ inch wide by ½ inch thick by 12-14 inch long .
Bake in a preheated oven at 160 deg C or 325 deg F for 25-30 mints.(mine took exactly 25 mints) or until light golden and firm.
Take out and let it cool for 5 mints on a rack.
Now transfer it to cutting board .Using serrated knife, cut each baked log into slices.
Pace the knife at 45 deg angle and then cut each slices into ½ -1 inch thick slices.
Again arrange the cut slices on a baking sheet and bake another 6 mints .Take out and turn the slices, bake the other ends some more 6 mints or till dry and toasted.
Take out and let them cool.
Store them in an air tight container; at room temperature they remain fresh up to 1 week.
If you want, you may refrigerate and it remains fresh till 1 month.
One more close look,

Note-
You may double the recipe for more biscotti.
And you may add walnuts/hazelnuts/almonds in place of pistachio.
Or you may use dried fruits such as apricots, cranberries. Just soften it before mixing in the dough by submerging in hot water for few mints.Otherwise it may turn too hard.
Happy Cooking Friends

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Baked Spicy Mustard Haddock

I have been trying out fish which are locally found here , like Cod, Salmon,Trout and last but not the least Haddock.Haddock is a marine fish and is available in frozen section of supermarkets.They usually come in two forms one is a normal boneless/skinless ones and the other is smoked haddock fillets.We like the smoked haddock fillets more than the normal ones.
Now according to the nutritional value chart on every packet, this is a great source of protein and healthy omega fatty acid.Twice a week fish is always good.They can be well paired with some fried rice or a green salad as accompaniment.I have made this smoked variety fish with some vegetables ,trying to give a nice curry texture .
This recipe is very low on oil and yes it has cheese( just for the sake of taste buds of my lil kid), but if you do not want it, you can take out the cheese and it tastes even better.There is no need to add cheese if you do not feel so.The crunchiness of vegetables is well accompanied by the smooth texture of baked spicy mustard fish.
Smoked haddock fish is traditionally from Aberdeen ,a fishing village of Findon( known locally as Finnan) a place in Scotland I guess.People started making lightly cold smoked and delicately flavoured haddock there ,way back in late 19 th century . They were making a lightly milk based stew known as Finnan Haddie from these smoked haddock( which is somewhat pretty unusual for us as milk and fish never match according to Bengali way of cooking).
If you want to dig in more then go below for the detailed lightly stew version of smoked haddock.Cold smoking is just giving some nice and quik flavour to the fresh caught fish.This makes a fish ,generally off-white or dyed(To me it looked like it has been marinated in some turmeric powder and some salt)
Finnan Haddie.
Now smoked haddock is a staple fish in Kedgeree also, an Anglo-Indian way of preparing Khichri with fish.To the recipe now


Baked Spicy Mustard Haddock


Serves 2-4
Ingredients
Smoked Haddock fish fillet-2-4
Turmeric powder -2 tsp
Mustard powder-3-4 tsp
Red pepper powder-2 -3 tsp salt-1 tsp or as per taste
Baby Corn 4-5
Beans -7-8 whole
1-2 tbs of pasta sauce
1 tomato
Half onion chopped finely
2 garlic chopped finely
Few tsp of ginger grated or chopped finely
Oil for frying/sauteing the vegetables -1 tbs

Method
Make a mixture of mustard powder,red pepper powder,turmeric and salt.
Coat this mixture evenly over the fish fillets and wrap them in foil making a kind of packets.
Bake at 200 deg C for 20-25 mints.
Meanwhile the fish is being baked
Make the vegetables with the sauce
Take a saucepan, add in oil , saute some chopped ginger,garlic and onions.
Add in beans and baby corn and tomatoes.
Fry them well, season them with salt and red pepper powder.
Keep stirring and cooking keeping in mind that vegetables need to remain crunchy.
Arrange the above cooked vegetables and pasta sauce over baked fish in those packets.Sprinkle some cheese( I added some Kraft cheese slices ,tearing and spreading evenly over it)
Put the entire thing to bake for more at least 5-7 mints.
Serve when it’s still pipping hot with a side of beet rice pulao.
It tastes absolutely delicious as it looks , want a bite !!
Note-
This recipe is very flexible , you may use Ilish steaks/Pomfret/Tilapia fish fillet in place of smoked haddock fillets also.
You may choose your vegetables to accompany this recipe.Mushrooms and Bell peppers to name a few are excellent with this spicy dish.

Happy Cooking

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Laziz Lauki Kofta Curry


I do think I haven’t posted any vegetarian recipe for a while now.Although I have been making many of them daily,but my attention was kind of diverted towards Baking and sweets.So ,thought too much of sweet is not always good as our emphasis is having things in a balanced proportions .This recipe turn out slighlty different as it has some good memories, memories woven around my grandmother.
I had lauki/bottle gourd in my fridge over a couple of days now.Usually I like to make Lao Diye Moonge’er dal or dal with Bottle gourd chunks .But this time I thought why not try making lauki ke kofta curry.Here comes the memory part that I was talking about.
I was visiting my grandparents home ,cant recall which year it was to be precise,I guess I was in college then .Grandfather( I used to call him “Dadna” fondly) had passed away,although his presence was very eminent in every day –to –day dealings .My grandmother , was a very simple and homely cook , but she usually had the nack of picking good things or should I say good recipes from where ever it was possible.She had made some north Indian friends with whom she would converse in broken Hindi.She would often convert her drinking tea to eating tea while trying to convert her Bengali to Hindi ..or sometimes even weird gramatical mistakes(that includes gender confusions).But the most important part was that her friends never bothered to correct or complained her.She had become a non-separable part of their lives as well.Anyways , she perhaps got this one from one of them , but twisted it to make it more suitable according to a Bengali homly cooking.
Her kofta’s would turn out very soft , but it would not get deshaped while cooking or serving , all intact and the flavours were sealed inside every koftas .Gravy would turn out very thick and creamy also.I wished, I would have asked her recipe in detail or rather helped her making up this lip-smacking recipe ,but back then I was not too much into cooking.
While eating the kofta curry with roti,she gave me a rough idea of making the lao ‘er kofta and also the gravy at the dinning table that day.Keeping in mind that rough idea,here I tried to improvise the recipe as the koftas are usually made with besan/chick pea flour , but I was running short of it at the time of making.







Laziz lauki Kofta Curry-
For the Kofta
Lauki -2 medium size, skin removed and grated
5-7 tbs of self rising flour/gram flour(besan)
½ tsp of salt
1-2 tsp of red pepper powder
½ tsp of turmeric powder
1-2 tsp of cumin powder
1-2 tsp of coriander powder
4-5 tbs of oil for frying the kofta's
Grate the Bottle gourd, and squeese out the water.You may like to use this water while making the gravy for Kofta’s.Mix all and make a smooth dough.

TIP--These are delicious and makes a lovely accompaniment with Pita Bread or rotis.Just fry them and stuff them in Pita pockets or roll in rotis or parathas.





For the Gravy
3-4 tbs of cooking oil
2 tbs of cashews/peanuts
3/4 cup of milk
2 medium size onions
1-2 inch ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1-3 tsp of red pepper powder(depends on how much you can handle hotness)
1 tsp of garam masala
2 tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of coriander powder
Grind all the above in a food processor to a smooth paste except the milk which you will be adding later.
Method
Take the skin out with Potato Peeler and grate the bottle gourd, sqeeze the excess water with the help of your palms.Keep aside this water for the gravy you will prepare later.Mix in flour( you may use besan/gram flour in place of self rising flour), cumin,coriander,turmeric,red pepper powder and salt.Knead to a semi soft dough.Roll out small rounds from it.This above mixture made approx 12 Koftas.
Now heat up a kadai, add oil and fry these koftas well.If you feel roll each kofta over some flour before frying.This makes the koftas fry well in oil.
Now heat up another saucepan, add oil .Add the masala paste you prepared for the gravy.
Keep on stir/fry the paste for 5-7 mints at med-low.
Now add in the water which you have kept for gravy that you collected while sqeezing the grated bottle gourd.This way the nutrients are not lost.
Add in half cup to ¾ cup of milk + 1/4 cup of water, lower the flame and cook/simmer at low , uncovered.(If you want the gravy to be little thin , add some more water) .One thing should be kept in mind , Koftas absorbs the gravy like anything , so its better to add enough water in the gravy initially.
TIP--What I have done , I have kept half of the gravy separate and submerged the koftas in half of the gravy in serving bowl.This way when we were ready to eat , I reheated the separate gravy and added this hot gravy to the serving bowl with koftas +half of the gravy.We had lauki kofta curry for our dinner.This was a nice change to a usual moong dal with bottle gourd.

Link of the week-

Her recipes always make me drool, Shn at Mishmash(http://kitchenmishmash.blogspot.com/) is a great place to know more about Kerela Cuisine and peek into a daily life of a typical Keralite home.I have tried her (http://kitchenmishmash.blogspot.com/2008/08/malabar-style-chemmeenprawn-biryani.html) recipe and there are plenty of them on my list now.Visit her lovely place full of memories and cultural amalgamation.
Happy Cooking