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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dal Bukhara and Bandhakopir Torkari (Cabbage Stir-Fry /Subzi)

I have been watching Music ka mahamukabla recently (yeah I know you already know who the winner is, but we get to see old clippings here after some times later). This way,I feel connected to my roots thro’ watching these shows in a foreign land.

Many a times I don’t understand how the points are given, I mean there are couple of times a good singer on a good performance, gets low points and some bad performance gets high points. That makes me think, are these reality TV programme fixed or fake. These singers seem to have inclination towards some absurd new songs(I am not blaming new age music directors for that matter, couple of them have given some beautiful creations or even created masterpieces) Why cant they pick those beautiful pieces or some good classical songs from past Hindi movies ?Most of the times it is the” noise” that we get to listen. I have always appreciated good musical programmes on TV like the saregama in it’s initial years or the first Indian Idol .
And then the fear factor episodes with scorpions/spider/frogs/cockroaches, what is wrong with them. Why do they tend to glamorize every darn ugly thing in the world? My hubby S says if you were paid some hefty sums like them, then probably you would have also gone to these shows. S ,I beg to differ and I am not ready to take these craps even if I am overpaid and also I am not going to watch them to increase their TRP’s anymore. These days I feel there is serious lack of some quality TV programme although the channels available now is many more as compared to some 5 or 10 years back.
That makes me realize -Are we loosing the interest in these reality TV programmes or watching Cable. Do you like to watch reality TV programme? What is your opinion?




Now to the recipes
Since I am late in posting, so I will share with you two recipes in one go
First one is dal Bukhara or kali dal as is commonly known in UP a northern state in India. I guess this dish started it’s origin from western province in Pakistan. Anyone out there do you know more about it then share it with us.
Cream and tomato is the most used ingredient, in fact forms the base of this dal.Tomato gives the tangy flavor and cream gives the richness that is required in this dal .This dal is very delicious just like it’s ally dal makhni (which has rajma /kidney beans also added in it).I have tried to make it restaurant –style so that we can enjoy it even in comfy of our home. I have pureed half of the cooked dal with fried masala‘s and then added the cream and butter to it. Then we kept it cooking for sometime at low which gives ample time to blend the flavors well. This made that creamy rich thick gravy that we were so looking forward to eat. I am glad at the end we were not disappointed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Banana Corn Muffin


Last time when I baked apple muffin in bun tray they turn out like this , however this time I made banana muffin in a proper muffin tray. I had some frozen corn left, so thought of adding them to the muffin batter. They turn out soft and were very much enjoyed by my folks.
Now in this part of the world, spring season has started.So; I am doing up my spring cleaning sessions in home and also clearing up my draft posts. There are three more draft posts that needs some sunshine, will post them soon.
Yesterday, I was talking to my sister back home .She is busy with her new born and was complaining about the heat waves in the month of March. It is pretty hot back home and makes life difficult with a newborn baby.
Anyways there is one more week to my daughter's Easter holiday. Kids I tell you when they stay back home, you suddenly feel you have additional chores to do, I end up tidying and managing toys ,books ,clothes,colours/crayons etc more often than logging into my computer.
I feel there are so much better things to do than watching cartoons or TV during holidays. We are planning for some craft –works during holidays.We have plans to make treasure box and party caps.Lets see how things turn out.
These are some of the craft work we did in the past, if you wish you may go Here
Do you have any ideas regarding kid-crafts, then why not share it here, I will really appreciate it.
Now to the recipe,adapted from Here
Banana Corn muffin
Recipe requirements
makes-12-14
1 and ½ cup of all-purpose flour (Maida)
2-3 tsp of flour for coating corn
3 bananas pureed or mashed (I prefer mashed)
½ cup of frozen corn
¾ cup of sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup of melted butter or cooking oil
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Method
Cream together butter and sugar (I have made this with normal cooking oil, and trust me they turn out even more soft and light). Add egg and mashed bananas, mixing in well.
Add vanilla extract to the above.
In a microwave safe bowl, cook frozen corn with some water for 1-2 mints at high or till they turn out soft. Coat them well with flour. Keep aside.
In a separate bowl, gently sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda.
Now add the flour mixture and the egg+butter+sugar +banana mixture alternately up to 2 -3 times till the banana mixture is used up. Gently fold in cooked corn.
Meanwhile preheat the oven at 175 deg Celsius (fan assisted)
In a prepared muffin tray, scrap the batter in to each mould and bake it for 25-30 mints (place them in second shelf) or till a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of muffin. Check for your make of oven and read the manual for proper baking time and temperature.
Cool it for 5-6 mints. Take out and enjoy.
You can whip up some cream and decorate it with some gems for the kiddos or enjoy plain with out cream.

Note
You may use any normal cooking oil , I have made this one with sunflower oil.
You may use frozen blueberries in place of corn, but don’t forget to adjust the sweetness of the batter.

Happy Cooking

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Strawberry Bread



This recipe has been in my draft for long now.So, thought it would be better if it gets some sunshine.
Strawberry loaf/bread is adapted from Here .

Strawberry Bread
Recipe requirements
½ cup of butter
2 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
3 eggs
½ tsp of baking powder
½ tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
½ cup of yogurt
½ cup of shelled pistachios
1 cup of chopped strawberry

Method
Cream together buter and sugar. Add egg one at a time mixing in well.
Add vanilla extract to the above. Add in yogurt also. Mix in gently.
In a separate bowl, gently sift flour,salt,baking powder,baking soda,cinnamon powder.
Now add the flour mixture and the egg+butter+sugar +yogurt mixture alternately upto 2 -3 times till the yogurt mixture is finished.
Meanwhile preheat the oven at 180 deg celsius.
Gently fold in shelled and coarsely chopped pistachios and strawberry to above mixed batter.
In a prepared loaf tin, scrap the batter in to it and bake it for 1 hr no less than that.
Note
I have used shelled pistachios in place of walnuts and plain yogurt in place of sour cream.

And I have used approx 3/4 cup of chopped strawberries.
And they flew away leaving behind a smiling face.
Happy Cooking
Updated
My deep condolence for the victims and their families ,who lost their precious life in a terrible fire at Park Street in Kolkata yesterday. Stephens Court reminds me of Flury’s a confectionery house where we used to go on weekends sometimes.
My hubby‘s close friend and colleague’s sister’s BIL was one of the victim of this terrible fire at park street. That poor guy only checked in his office at 1.30 p.m. and the fire broke at 2 p.m.Isn’t it was destiny or what else? If he could have chosen to stay back home, his life and his near n dear ones life, might have been different today.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yogurt and Cereal Breakfast



Few days back Chaitra navaratri started in northern part of India which will end on Ram Nabami, I know most of you celebrated Ugadi and Godi padva recently with all gusto.We Bengali’s celebrate Basanti Puja during these days with all enthusiasm. After this it's official summer time in northern part of India.Ashok Shashti is a fasting ritual most of the married Bengali ladies observe on sixth day of navaratri/basanti puja.Mainly vegetarian food is eaten,however this recipe I am not sure completely follow the norms/ritual as it has cereal in it,but if you leave out cereal ,yogurt and fruits can be eaten on that day.If you know other things related to Ashok Shashti or any other stories ,do drop few lines here.I do think these are some tradition we must conserve and pass it on to next generation.

Now to the simple recipe for yogurt cereal breakfast
Yogurt cereal Breakfast
Serves 2-3
2 cups of yogurt
1 cup of chopped strawberry or any fruits
½ cup of cereal (I use Kellogg’s clusters)
Method
Well there is no special method.
Just layer yogurt,then strawberry then cereal till glasses are filled.
Serve chilled or eat while you finished preparing it.
One more close look

And this video which I think is soul stiring.Banshi tui bajish Na rey! By Paban Das Baul.I keep playing it for several times continuously. This reminds me of Purno Das Baul and his baul giti which all of us listened to while growing up.
Credits goes to the person who has uploaded it, and If you are one of the visitor here reading this , please leave your name and thank you for uploading such a great work.





Happy Cooking

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Stuffed and Roasted Baby Chicken

I was little skeptical of posting this recipe for quite a while now, as it’s purely non-vegetarian stuff and many of my vegetarian friends wont like seeing this.My apologies to them,but believe me this has been part of our weekend menu for a quite a while now and we really enjoy eating it.
So here,this time I thought of posting about stuffed roasted baby chicken.Believe me there are many versions of stuffed roasted chicken,but each has it’s unique way of marination,then stuffing and even the temperature at which it’s roasted.Even each time I make it,this turn out little different.I have made with skin on and also without skin.I would say choose whatever way you make them but each time it will turn out delicious.
I have made the stuffing with few slices of whole wheat bread crumbs+spring onions this time.But I also like to make the stuffing with mushroom+bell peppers chopped finely.Another thing which I like to add is dried herbs like thyme +all the dry ground spices which we use everyday in our cooking.

Now to the recipe
Roasted Stuffed Chicken
Recipe requirements
1 baby chicken
For the marination
½ cup of yogurt
2 tsp of red pepper powder
2 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of coriander powder
3 tsp of Shaan Shekh kabab masala powder
1 tsp of dried thyme or any other herb
2 tbs of cooking oil
Salt as per taste
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl with yogurt.Whisk in gently till they blend well.
For the stuffing
2 slices of whole wheat bread made into crumbs
1 bunch of spring onions chopped finely
1 tsp of red pepper powder
2 fat garlic chopped finely
Salt as per taste
Method
Wash the chicken well in lukewarm water specially inside the cavity.
Now make the marination
Whisk in cumin+coriander+red pepper +turmeric+shekh Kabab masala+dried thyme+red pepper flakes +salt as per taste in yogurt very well.
Now generously rub it all over the chicken and also to inside the cavity of chicken.
Keep refrigerated overnight.This way chicken absorbs the flavour most and turn out more tender.I would say this is very similar to the process of brining-soaking the chicken in salt water.I do think the moisture and tangy flavour of yogurt marinating baby chicken overnight makes it more tender.Please do not skip this stage for making roasted stuffed chicken.
Next morning prepare the stuffing
Chop spring onions and garlic and then add in red pepper powder,salt and rest of the marination of chicken.
Stuff this mixture inside chicken cavity with spoon or use your hand (by the way I prefer the last one).Now if you feel you may tie or sew the chicken with thread so that the stuffing don’t come out.But usually I don’t do this.
Preheat oven (fan assisted) at 190 deg Celcius for 2mints.
Line a roasting tray with foil and then place the chicken stuffed over it.Place in the second shelf of the oven.
Bake it for 45 mints without skin and if the chicken has skin, then add in more 4-5 mints(personally I prefer roasting with skin on as it holds the moisture well and is more flavourful).Check for your make of oven and check about proper temperature for roasting.Half way thro ,take out chicken and bast/brush it with some oil.
Usually I like to avoid roasting at 200 deg or more because it may burn up the tender meat of baby chicken.And roasting slowly makes it more flavouring.If you are using roaster or chicken more than 3 lb then increase the duration of roasting to at least 1 ½ hr or till chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Note-
You may use any stuffing also, I have used many times celery+mushroom or mushroom+bell pepper as stuffing for the chicken.
Happy Cooking
Updated on 12/12/10
Made again today and now roasted it at 175 deg C for 55 mints with out skin.This time stuffing was very unusual.We had some left-over banana pancakes , so used this in place of  whole-meal bread.
Added Anar dana powder/Pomegranate powder in the rubbing mixture for the  dry spices..added Cooking oil approx 3-4 tbs in place of yogurt as suggested by my better half.This came out more flavourful , more of an improvised version of tandoori chicken.

Uploading more pictures on 17/01/11


and one more





Happy Cooking

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dal/Lentil Stuffed Vegetables-Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper


Sometimes I feel to break the monotony of having vegetables as subzi’s or stir/fry way.I mean then I like to roast or bake the vegetables.My folks love roasted potatoes very much but I try to sneak other vegetables like zucchini and bell peppers into their plate also.They don’t mind eating roasted zucchini and bell pepper provided if I stuff them with potatoes.Potatoes are rich source of carbohydrates but when we eat Rice I don’t see a point to add more carbohydrates to our meal.So, in place of carbohydrates as fillers/stuffing ,I thought Protein will be a healthy choice ,I mean our very nourishing Dal/Lentils as stuffing to roasted vegetables.


I generally don’t cook lentils/dal separately for stuffing, whatever left-over dal I have I add bit more of spices like Cumin+coriander+garlic+green Chillies+garam masala and few tsp of lemon juice to it and make the dal/lentils little dry or crumbly.Then stuff this in vegetables and bake them for 30-45 mints.My daughter likes to call stufed zucchini as "Zucchini Boats" sometimes.Well other way I try to use up left-over dal is with kneading with Atta to make dal Roti.This way the rotis turn out soft also.How do you use your left-over foods.Do share your experience with us.

Dal/Lentil stuffed Vegetables-Zucchini and Bell Peppers

Serves-3
Recipe requirements
2 cups of cooked dal/lentils –any dal but I like to make it often with Mong or Masoor dal
2 zucchini-cut into half
2 bell peppers
2 tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of coriander powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of garam masala
2 tsp of dried thyme(optional)
Pinch of salt
2-3 green chillies chopped
2 fat cloves gralic chopped coarsely
¼ cup of bread crumbs
1 tbs of cooking oil


Method
In a saucepan, add the cooked dal.You may cook dal separately prior to making this.Giving you links to two dal recipes-Panch Mishori Dal , Dal made in a simple way
Now add in all the dry ingredients-cumin+coriander+red pepper+garam masala+dried thyme leaves+salt+few tsp of cooking oil+few tsp of lemon juice(that depends how sour you want the dal /lentil stuffing-add more for more sour version)
Now add in chopped garlic and green chillies.
Cook the dal for 7-10 mints at med –low till it starts to collect and becomes dry.
Now wash up vegetables, meanwhile preheat the oven to 200 deg celcius (the oven we have is fan assisted,check the correct temperature for your oven, read the manual)

Cut zucchini into half and scoop out half of the inside of zucchini's with spoons and leaving about 1/4 inch of thick outer shell.Similarly take out the seeds of red bell peppers also.
Generally I don’t cook the vegetables prior to baking them.(If you feel you can cook them for 5 -10 mints in hot water and then make the stuffing.)

I have chosen zucchini due to the water content it has, when baked it has a nice crunchy texture and red bell peppers are ripened so it has a sweet taste which when baked compliments the spicy lentil/dal mixture.Choose your vegetables and make stuffing.Another stuffed bell pepper recipe - Bharwan Shimla Mirch-Baked version
Rub cooking oil generously over the vegetables,now stuff the dal/lentil stuffing to vegetables and then transfer to baking tray.Sprinkle bread-crumbs over the stuffed vegetables.
Place the tray at the second shelf and bake it for 45 mints or till you feel the vegetables are tender and roasted.
Take out and serve pipping hot with some rice.


Note-
If you have pre-cooked the vegetables in hot water,then reduce the baking time for roasting.
In place of bread-crumbs you may choose any cheese also.
Another great protein stuffing is grated spiced paneer.

Don't forget to mention/share with us how you like to eat your left-over foods.

Happy Cooking

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Doi Diye Mach(Fish with Yogurt)



I have always used yogurt in my chicken gravy but not in fish ,so doi mach remained a totally new zone for me.My mother nor my mother-in-law likes to add yogurt or milk to fish gravies.For them milk products and Fish doesn’t go well together.
Long time back I used to prepare a fish recipe that I read in some news paper by Jiggs Kalra , Machi Pehalgami.Now Pehalgam is a region in Kashmir and People in Kashmir like to have their fish or mutton cooked in milk or milk products.That recipe was based on four main ingredient-Fish+yogurt+fennel+ginger.I used to make that recipe before marriage but in my Shoshur Bari (parent-in-laws) joint family that was something very unusual.They have never came across such vivid recipe and many were not very comfortable eating that.And over a period of time it slipped away from my to-do list.
After a decade I tried again making fish with yogurt last Sunday minus fennel.This time I chopped onion/garlic /ginger finely and added cumin+coriander powder to the fried masala.When the gravy slowly started simmering with fish pieces in it.I added whisked plain yogurt at the end when fish pieces have incorporated the flavouring well. Now I don’t know if I have done right by adding it at the end.Do let me know when you like to add yogurt to your fish gravies.

Doi mach(Rui Fish with Yogurt)
Serves 4-5
Recipe requirements
Rui fish pieces-4-5
2 medium size onion chopped very finely
4-5 garlic chopped finely
1 inch ginger chopped finely
3-4 green chillies
1 small tomato chopped
Flavouring
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2-3 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of garam masala
Salt as per taste
Pinch of sugar
½ cup of yogurt
Cooking oil-4-5 tbs
Method
Clean the fish pieces for any scales and then wash it in water.
Marinate them in turmeric powder+salt.
Meanwhile fish is marinating , chop onions/garlic/ginger as finely as you can or otherwise pulse it in a mixer.I sometimes just chop onion finely and crush coarsely chopped garlic/ginger with my rolling pin over cutting board.
Heat up a kadai,add cooking oil, fry the fish pieces at medium flame for 3-4 mints each side till they turn out nice brown.
Now in that oil itself, add little bit of more oil,add sugar at this point of time.
Now add garlic/ginger first.Fry them for few mints till they turn golden.
Now add in chopped onions.Fry them for 5 mints.
Add the dry ingredients like-Turmeric powder+red pepper powder+cumin+coriander powder+garam masala and salt as per taste.Sprinkle little water over the masala.
Now fry it well for 5-7 mints or till the oil separates out.Add in slit green chilies+chopped tomato pieces.
Add 1 cup of warm water.Cook for 2-3 mints at high till the gravy starts bubbling.Add the fried fish pieces.Cover it and cook for 5-6 mints at low.
Meanwhile whisk in yogurt well in a cup and then add this whisked yogurt to the simmering fish gravy(I always like to keep the kadai off the stove-top when I am adding yogurt to the gravy)
Cook further for 2-3 mints.Take out in a serving bowl and enjoy with warm cooked rice.
Tip –Sometimes when you find the gravy is looking runny, just add in 1 tsp of atta or maida(flour) to it,whisk well and cook for 2 mints at med-low, the gravy will slowly start to thicken kind of Makha-Makha in Bengali.

Happy Cooking

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tandoori Keema Kabab and Happy Holi

We really like to indulge ourselves in some rich and spicy food sometimes.And when it’s holi there is then one more reason to add.Wish everybody a very happy Holi.
Although these tandoori kababs don’t need any occasion to be prepared and enjoyed.Make them and enjoy whenever you feel it’s time to celebrate.
My toddler daughter sometimes find it difficult to eat spicy food as she is not too much fond of spicy food.
But when it comes to these tandoori kababs, she absolutely like gorging them with some plain yogurt or sometimes even Kraft’s thousand island dressing.Well to me , tandori kabab and thousand island dressing is something very unusual combination.Dont ask me how I came up with this combo.It is perhaps my trial and error way of making my toddler to eat spicy food.To be honest even I find these tandoori kababs very tasty with thousand island dressing.Normally coriander chutney or some yogurt/raita goes well with these spicy kababs.
Here is the recipe for tandoori kababs my way.
Tandoori Keema Kabab
Recipe requirements
Minced chicken meat-250 gm
To be marinated with minced meat
4 garlic cloves chopped finely
½ inch of fresh ginger chopped finely
2-4 green chillies
2 tsp of cumin powder
3 tsp of coriander powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
4 tsp of Shaan Sheekh kabab masala
2 tsp of garam masala
1 egg
½ cup of roasted chick pea flour or besan
½ cup of breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of cooking oil for marinating and brushing up the kababs/basting purpose

Method
Wash the chicken minced in warm water and then squeeze in the water well.
Now heat up a kadai and dry roast besan at med-low flame for 6-8 mints (make sure you don’t burn it up by turning the flame at high)
Now in a bowl, marinate the minced meat with cumin powder+coriander powder+red pepper powder+Shaan Sheekh Kabab powder+some oil+salt as per taste+garam masala .
Break 1 egg and mix in well with the marinated minced meat.
Now you can make your breadcrumbs if you have some old bread in refridgerator.Toast 2-4 bread slices.Then just dry grind 2-4 whole wheat bread slices in spice grinder or mixer or liquedizer which ever make you have.And you are ready with your home –made fresh breadcrumbs.
Mix the breadcrumbs+besan+1-2 tbs of cooking oil with marinated minced meat.Keep refridgerated for 3-4 hrs in fridge.
Take out the marinated keema, let it come to the room teperature.
Now oil the skewers with your hand or you may use any cooking oil sprays.
Divide the marinated minced meat in equal proportions.Now press one portion into the skewer, place other ones at a distance of 1 inch approx.
I end up using 5 wood skewers with approx 4-5 kababs on each skewer with the above quantity of marinated minced meat.
Now preheat the oven at about 180 deg C.
Keep a bowl of cooking oil and baking brush handy.
Now use aluminium foil to cover a wire rack in the oven.Brush up that with some oil.
Now place the skewers with minced meat kababs and brush some oil over each kabab.
Bake for 10 mints then take out flip the kababs, bast/brush the kababs with oil.
Again bake it for 10 mints.
Take out and check if they have dried up or are cooked well, If you feel that it further needed baking,then again brush up some cooking oil over each kababs.Bake another 5-7 mints.
Take out and serve with chopped onions and lettuce.
Note-
1. Another way of making fresh garlic ginger paste is just crushing with rolling pin over the board.This brings out the freshness of minced garlic and ginger more.I have made crushed garlic/ginger paste this way for these kababs.
2.You can use cooked chana dal in place of roasted besan also.But for that increase the amount of bread-crumbs(this would perhaps help in holding up the kababs well on skewers)
3.If you have company you can always make it beforehand and at the time of serving just heat up/bake for 5-7 mints at 180 deg C in oven.

I made Doi-Bora and Nimki- Go here for recipe .Recipe for doi bora some other time.


Wish everybody a very happy HOLI and happy Cooking!!