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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mushroom Keema(Spicy Minced Meat with Mushroom)


There are times when I open my fridge and nothing comes to my mind to cook.No, this is nothing to do with the willingness to cook but what to cook and sometimes even how.Yeah I know you all must be wondering how can it happen and that to me! Well ,when you see two innocent faces making some noises at eating table ,you better know it is time now to change the meal plan or be prepared to add variations otherwise your cooking strategy is in questionable state.
We have been eating cabbage,cauliflowers,peas and carrots quite a lot these days.So all stir/fries and even mix-and-match, are regulars in our meal.Although I must admit we are still getting Potol/parwal and jhinge/ridge gourd and lao/lauki /bottle gourd here (that is something surprising for me) ,but my rather conventional mind doesn’t want to cook these vegetables as to me these are summer vegetables.So,what you do , do you cook vegetables even if that is not a typical of one season.Or you follow eating according to season .As season changes,in that order your menu/meal plan change also.


Leave the vegetables for a while now as to break the monotony of vegetarian meal , here comes a very spicy non-vegetarian recipe with a vegetable that is so accomodating i.e. mushrooms.

Mushroom keema (Spicy Minced Meat with Mushroom)
Recipe requirements
Chicken minced meat approx-250-300 gms
For the keema make this into a smooth paste in spice grinder
1 onion chopped
4 garlic
1 inch ginger
2 tsp of cumin powder
3 tsp of coriander powder
2-3 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of black pepper powder
Salt as per taste
2-3 tbs of yogurt
Marinate chicken keema overnight with onion/ginger/garlic paste and cumin/coriander powder +red pepper powder +black peper powder+2-3 tbs of yogurt and salt as per taste.
Now to the making of mushroom keema
Recipe requirements
4-5 tbs of cooking oil
1 packet mushroom approx -250 gms
2 tsp of red pepper powder
Method
Cut in half mushroom and then marinate the mushroom with red pepper powder +salt for 30 mints.(If you are using small button mushrooms, there is no need to cut them in half, use them whole and wash and pat dry then marinate with rest)
Heat up oil , add the whole cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
Add the marinated keema (Imp-make sure to take out the marinated keema before you are going to make it.Let the marinated keema come near to room temperature so that it can absorb more flavour)
Add the marinated mushroom also.
Now cook the marinated keema with mushroom at very low flame for 20-25 mints .(Keema marinated overnight requires less time to cook,even if you forget to marinate the keema overnight , make sure you do 2-3 hrs prior of cooking keema ,that also helps a lot)
Add some fried or toasted cashews also .
If you feel add finely chopped tomatoes +coriander` later .
Enjoy with hot rotis or rice whichever way you like it.
Note-Vegetarians can use soya chunks in place of Keema.
Happy Cooking

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Palong Shake'er Ghonto(Spinach Vegetable Medley)

Oxford is one of the most visited place in and around London.It’s glorious past makes it even more worthwhile to visit.Well it’s a small city and if you like walking or even cycling, then probably you can stroll around and spent some good time here.The entire campus is scattered and there are many places to visit.We however shortlisted some as we had been visiting for a day only.


Christ Church is a magnificent place to stop over and spend some quality time.In 1546 King Henry VIII re-founded the Cardinal College which was planned by Wolsey earlier as Christ Church.Now there is a very interesting story associated with the foundation of College or how Christ Church came into existence.





Thomas Wolsey was butcher’s son and was very powerful after the King himself, he became the Lord Chancellor and Archibishop of York.But when King Henry wanted a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, Wolsey was in dilemma as whom to support, the Chruch or the King.This made King very angry and he stripped Wolsey of his property and power including this potential project of Cardinal College.Later King revived the project and named it Christ Church.
He also made the priory church of St Frideswide the Cathedral of the new diocese of Oxford.
And how can I forget to mention Alice’s adventure in Wonderland (my daughter’s fav bed time story) which is woven in and around the campus of Christ Church specially the dining hall and even some of the characters where straight from the campus itself.Lewis Carroll the writer himself was a maths tutor at Christ Church from 1855-98.However his real name was Charles Dodgson.
Initial few scenes of Harry porter was shot here in dining Hall.(This is exclusive for all of you)



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Healfy Salad


Last time when me and my daughter went for vegetable shopping,she was too keen to pick vegetables of her choice.She told me she will be going to make a “healfy salad”(pls read as that,there is no typo mistake).She specifically picked iceberg lettuce for her healfy salad(God! at her age,I didn’t even know lettuce is something edible,so leave alone making healthy or unhealthy food habits)
Then she picked some cherry tomatoes and red bell peppers also.When we came back home after shopping, she went to her normal playing and watching cartoon routine.I was kind of relieved that OK the “healfy salad” bug has stopped itching her finally.No,I was wrong.Yesterday night she asked or rather reminded me to make her “healfy salad”…


DD-"Ma , tumaar mone ache amader healfy salad banate hobe"(Ma,remember we have to make healfy salad)
Me-"Kinto vegetables to ami kete debo tai na"(So,can I help you in cutting vegetables)
DD-"hain ,kinto mix ami korbo"(yeah,but I will mix and toss the vegetables)
Here she is tossing up her healfy salad




She asked me chop the vegetables lengthwise and cut the cucumbers with skin on.She teared the iceberg lettuce with hands and then washed all the fresh veggies in running water.I then told her to dry the teared leaves in a kitchen towel.
Hubby seeing all the excitement , asked to make some croutons also.For simple home-made Croutons


You need 3-4 old whole wheat bread slices.Take out the hard part of bread and then cut in cubes or lengthwise.
Preheat oven at 200 deg Celcius and then toss the bread pieces in some oil+salt+red pepper powder+dried oregano.Coat well and bake it uncovered on a baking tray for 10-12 mints.Take out and serve with your salad.It can stay fresh if kept in an airtight container for a week.All done.
and now to the salad recipe
I would be calling this salad as“Healfy Salad” ,as this is what my daughter named it.
Healfy Salad
Serves3-4
Half iceburg lettuce teared in small edible pieces
8-10 cherry tomatoes
1 red bell pepper chopped like jullienes
1 avocado chopped in cubes
Half cucumber with skin on cut into circles
Little bit of any cooking oil and seasoning as per your choice.
Method
Chop all the vegetables and clean them in running water in a colander.Drain off all the water.
Dry up the lettuce leaves in kitchen towel.
At the time of serving just mix in with some oil+salt.Enjoy with some home-made croutons.


Friends this is my 5 year old daughters first free-hand recipe,I feel so excited as I am writing this,as she has asked me to post this in my blog.Please encourage her with your words.I will definitely will be passing your appreciation to her.
(We think our daughter gave the best possible V-day gift to us.Thank you Love,May God Bless You!)
Updated
This post is going to Siri's event Healing foods-Avocado.Visit here for more details- Healing Food-Avocado

Happy Cooking and Valentine’s Day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cous-cous Upma and Cous-cous Corn Mint salad






Last time I prepared Cous-Cous Payesh and from then I was thinking to make something savoury.So came up with cous cous upma.In place of rava/sooji I have used cous-cous.Believe me I was pleasently surprised by the flavour cous-cous incorporates when Indian spices is blended with it.
So, I tempered the oil with mustard seeds and then added all the veggies and then mixed the prepared cous-cous,it all took me so little on time to prepare.I then sauted some chopped spinach in butter and served as an accompaniment.Plus thing or you can say bonus of this recipe is My 5 year old loved it.This is a very healthy kid friendly recipe.I am also writing another method of preparing cous-cous-“Cous-cous with corn and mint salad”, but I don’t have pics to support,will upload it later. If you want to read some more about Cous-Cous, then go read this Three Cheers for Cous-Cous.

Now to the recipe one
Cous –cous upma
Serves -4
2 cups of prepared cous-cous
1 tsp of mustard seeds
2 dry red peppers/shokno lonka
2 green chillies
1 cup of veggies of your choice(I added Carots+peas)
1 tomato chopped roughly

1/4 cup of chopped onion+ginger+garlic
½ cup of roasted peanuts
1 tsp of red pepper powder
Salt as per taste
Oil for cooking

Method
Soak about 1 cup of cous-cous in some warm water .let it sit there for 10-14 mints.Cous-cous will swell and now flake it with fork or with a spoon.
Now to preparing upma
Heat up some oil in kadai/saucepan.
Temper it with mustard seeds,dry red pepper,add chopped onions+garlic+ginger to it.Fry it till they become barely brown.
Now add all the veggies including chopped tomatoes, stir/fry it some more time.
Add salt and red pepper powder
Now add the prepared cous-cous and cover it .Let it cook fro 5 mints more.
Mix it well .
Serve with some roasted peanuts or grated fresh coconut or chopped coriander +some green chillies.

Recipe Num Two

Couscous with corn and mint salad
2 cups of prepared cous-cous
½ cup of boiled corn kernel
½ cup of choped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp of red pepper powder
2 tsp of oil
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1 green chilly chopped
Method
Prepare couscous .Let 1 cup of couscous sit in some warm water for 10-12 mints.It will make approx small 2 cups.
Now heat up oil in a saucepan, add mustard seeds,let it crackle .
Add corn kernels.Stir/fry for few mints.Add seasoning –salt+red pepper powder.
Now add prepared couscous.Mix in well.
Take out in a serving bowl .
Mix in well the chopped mint leaves.
Sprinkle some lemon juice(optional)
Serve chilled or as it is.

Happy Cooking

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Oolkopir/Ganthkopir Torkari-Kohlrabi Stir/Fry Subzi



Recently genetic engineering is in news but for wrong reasons.
There are many good discoveries in genetic engineering to further help us grow as a civilazaion.But when it comes to Bt Brinjal,certainly it wont help.

So what is Bt Brinjal?
The brinjal seed is genetically modified strain created jointly by Indian company Mahyco and and US MNC Monsanto.Bacillus thuringiensis brinjal is Bt Brinjal.It increases the shell life and is pest free that means the use of pesticides is reduced dramatically when this variety is cultivated by farmers resulting in reduction of cost of cultivation.Making of Bt Brinjal involves the insertion of a gene from the soil Bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis to the genetic code of vegetable(Brinjal) to produce the pesticidal toxin in every cell.Now these toxins when entered into human body can/may cause severe ailments like lung or kidney problems ,allergies,itching and many more which are still unknown.Bt brinjal is also known to be resistant to some antibiotics.

As for statistics in India ,Brinjal/Aubergine/Eggplant , is grown/cultivated in 5,10,000 hectares yeilding approx 8.2 million tonnes.
This is not the first time India has seen genetically modified crops.In 2001 Bt Cotton was introduced in certain parts of Gujrat and adjoining states, though the production was high for the first year but later it started slowly decreasing.Bt Cotton affected severly the health of cattles who were in direct contact with it.In three states it severly affected farmers financially resulting in many suicides.This variety was ineffective on Bollworm attack for which it was genetically modified.Bt Cotton was sold as pest-resistant variety in India but it failed majorly.


As a consumer if Bt Brinjal gets introduced in our food chain, then this is going to effect our health directly now.Remember we don’t have any norms or regulations to differentiate between an organic variety and the normal ones.So, as a consumer we still will be confused and can't trust the source from where it comes keeping in mind the whole process of plantation, storage and selling etc.

States like West Bengal,Bihar,Kerala,Chatissgarh and Orissa have banned the use of Bt Brinjal plantation which are the major producer of brinjal in India.But the question is will it solve the problem.Once introduced in farming in other states, there will be no regulation /boundaries on cross pollination if my common sense foresee,making it even more prone to severe health problems which includes effecting human immune system.Although as per norms Bt Brinjal can only be cultivated at a distance of 300 meter away from other crops.As a poor farmer in a remote village,can he keep these norms in mind while cultivating Bt Brinjal, I am sure it will be quite difficult for him.
And as a consumer can we have a choice to pick normal varieties over the genetically modified varieties?

I am sure our environment minister and goverment keep these questions in mind while deciding the fate of Bt Brinjal.Ten more days to go for a decision to be taken on this issues.Hope as a consumer we don’t end up as Guinea Pig this time again.

If you want to read further ,you must read these.
TOI Article
TOI Article
Ground Reality
Ginger and Mango

Now to the recipe for this post.I know Oolkopi/Kohlrabi/German Turnip is also known as Ghantkopi.This is a simple stir/fry subzi or Torkari in Bengali.This is quite a staple in winters when Oolkopi is in available in plenty.Pair it with some steamed rice or roti ,it brings out the pleasure of eating simple and easy.

Oolkopi/Ganthkopi diye Torkari-Kohlrabi Dry Subzi
Serves 2-3
Oolkopi/Ganthkopi- 1 whole , peeled and sliced into longitudianl pieces
1 potato –cut into long pieces
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 small tomato chopped
Fresh chopped coriander for garnishing


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 Oolkopi/ganthkopi and potatoes , stir/fry them well.Add chopped tomatoes also.
Add all the seasoning, sprinkle some water,add salt, 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.

Happy Cooking