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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Apple Fritters with Toffee sauce and Happy Christmas

Holidays have started and winter is upon us, and it seems it will be a rainy Christmas this year, unless if the weather god decides against this, then probably we still can hope for some sunshine.
This is, that time of the year again to unwind ourselves from our daily nitty-gritty of life, have a relaxing time in comfy of our home and with family and friends. Hope you all are gearing up to Christmas celebrations in your home respectively. Well, can’t believe another action-packed year is about to end soon.

We have put our small Christmas tree up and well decked, all for the love of our dear daughter who likes putting up Christmas tree and decorating it with many items. With Christmas tomorrow, everyone have started marathon baking sessions and that's for sure. We also have thawed small chicken and have put it for marinating, as we will be doing this stuffed and roasted chicken recipe tomorrow. As sides we will be having lots of roasted veggies like Brussel sprouts, carrots and onions etc. And then I have made this Christmas fruit cake  on Sunday and another Chocolate Swiss roll today. Not to mention, orange jelly with vanilla cream and loads of seasonal fruits. Then I will be doing two cocktails, non-alcoholic – pina colada for me and apple colada for apple lovers in my family as they are not too fond of pineapple flavor.


Well I know internet is now full of various types of Christmas cakes, fruit cakes, dessert, casseroles etc, but then if you are like me, who likes fritter as snacks sweet or savory both with evening tea, then probably you can give these apple fritters with toffee sauce a try for sure. Another great way of having them is with dollops of ice-creams or double cream or even with home-made custard after dinner as dessert. We had these fritters in one of the Chinese restaurants here as we were having a Chinese buffet and from then onward these apple fritters were on my mind.
You can make ahead them, then just pop them in oven or microwave to re-heat them and serve with home-made custard or toffee sauce, a perfect accompaniment with evening tea or the last-minute dessert recipe after your Christmas dinner.
Now to the recipe
Apple fritters with toffee sauce
Recipe requirements ( makes - 15-16 fritters approx)
2 ripened gala red apple
3/4  cup of self raising flour
¼ cup of corn-flour
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of cinnamon powder
1 tsp of nutmeg powder
¼ tsp of red pepper powder
1 cup of cooking oil for frying the fritters



Method
Apple Fritters 
Cut apples into half and then slice them thinly. Two apples will yield at least 14- 16 apple fritters.
Now make the marinade by mixing in all the spices- red pepper powder, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and salt. Rub this spice powder over each apple pieces. Keep aside for at least 1 hr, after one hour discard the water coming out.
Dissolve corn flour in some water, add in self raising flour, and adjust salt. Make the batter as dropping consistency.
Put a deep bottom pan over heat, add in cooking oil and let it heat up properly for deep frying.
Coat each pieces of apple in the corn-flour+self raising flour well, and quickly release it in hot oil. Fry each side for 3-4 mints. Take out and drain excess oil over kitchen towels or old news paper.
Toffee sauce
1 cup of sugar
2-3 tbs of butter
2-3 tbs of cream ( optional)
Method
Melt sugar in a melting saucepan over medium heat, stir it so that it doesn’t stick on the base, and add in butter when the caramel is formed.Add in cream also but I have not done that , cream gives the toffee sauce more richness.You may even make it with muscovado sugar or light brown sugar.
Now drizzle this  sticky toffee sauce quickly over the deep fried fritters and enjoy with a cup of tea.

Well on this Christmas Eve and as you all will go on creating memories and traditions just like other festivals that you all celebrate. So, it doesn’t matter what goodies you will be baking, it doesn’t matter what gifts you will be purchasing or gifting , it doesn’t matter what decorations you will be doing on your Christmas tree or in your home. But what matters is the feeling to share and give unconditionally.


The moments that you now create and live will be heard over and over again, even if you someday no longer live there to re-tell. Pass those thoughts, those treasured recipes on to the next generation, surround yourself with the warmth of love, your loved ones now shower on you.


Light up some fairy light or candles, have a relaxing time and unwind yourself. It will seem quite busy and hectic schedule for many, but then in coming years, you will be re-calling some ever lasting silly or nasty or emotional memories that you always can cherish.




And let it be peace and love that should guide us in our journey that we call life.  You all have a relaxing Christmas and happy holidays.

Wish you all a very merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fiorelli Pasta Cooked with Broccoli and Curly Kale leaves- Vegetarian pasta recipe

I can go on describing the beauty of pasta shapes in detail and in poetic verses if I have that capability to do so, but then I have limited skills for that matter. But give me these pretty shaped fiorelli pasta , and I will try to  cook with green vegetables that go on, unnoticed or most of the times people don’t bother to include them in their meal plans. I don’t know what was going through in my mind when I was pairing up broccoli and curly kale leaves together for this pasta preparation, but then I am glad it was well received by my folks.


Anyhow, I think these two vegetables- broccoli and curly kale leaves, are mostly under-rated vegetables, but I would suggest using them more often as they bring balanced nutrition in our eating pattern.

This fiorelli pasta recipe is, a truly vegetarian delight, a keeper recipe, but if you really want to jazz it up, then add in fried shrimps or chicken pieces. You may even add in Turkey mince as well, but then this would be a true Ragu bologna sauce as it will be having mince meat cooked together with vegetables. For the time being it’s a simple pasta sauce that was cooked for these fiorelli pasta.
Now to the recipe

Fiorelli pasta cooked with broccoli and curly kale leaves
Recipe requirements
300 Gms of fiorelli pasta or use half pasta packet
1 broccoli cut into small florets
200gms of curly kale leaves chopped roughly
For the sauce
1 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of oregano or 1 tsp of mixed herbs
1 large tomato
3-4 tbs of pasta sauce
1 medium size onion
2-3 fat garlic
1 tsp of salt or as per taste
3-4 tbs of olive oil
Cheddar cheese and red pepper flakes for garnishing
Method
Put a large saucepan with ample water on medium-high flame.Add in a half tsp of salt and 1 tsp of oil into it. Add in fiorelli pasta and let it cook. Add curly kale leaves half way thro, let it cook. Drain water after the pasta is cooked well. You may add in kale leaves and broccoli later, while making the pasta sauce.Kale leaves takes some time to cook well so it’s good to do a quick blanching like this way.
Now to the making of pasta sauce
In a heated pan, add in olive oil, now add in finely chopped garlic, and stir/fry it for 2 mints.Now add in finely chopped onion and stir/fry it for 3-4 mints or till they turn translucent.
Now add in finely chopped tomatoes. Add in broccoli florets and stir/fry it for 4-5 mints at medium-high flame.
Add in red pepper powder, dried oregano or dried mixed herbs what ever you are using it and salt. Add in pasta sauce to this and coat the spices well over broccoli florets. Add in a cup of water or you may use the starch water that you have drained earlier while cooking fiorelli pasta.
Adjust seasonings if required, and add in cooked fiorelli pasta with blanched curly kale leaves to this simmering sauce and let it mingle well for about 3-4 mints. Add in a dollop of butter at the end and some cream to enhance the sauce but it's not necessary if you wish to make it low-calorie recipe.
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese or grated parmigiano-reggiano –cheese. I even like to have some red pepper flakes over it.



Note
If you want more sauce then please increase the quantities of sauce ingredients, this sauce is just enough to coat cooked pasta so it won’t be having any extra sauce in your serving plate.
If you wish you may add in red wine like Merlot etc to enhance the flavour.

Please feel free to include cooked shrimps or chicken to this pasta recipe, if you wish so.

Happy Cooking 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dim-Panpor'er Dalna - Egg papad/poppadom curry

As I was writing this post, suddenly my eyes got glued on the date of the day , well why would any one will be interested in knowing a date unless we are talking about the date, I mean the “real date”, but is it just a mere co-incident that today is 11/12/13, wow! now that’s something, is really a stunner. And people are taking things pretty seriously about this date or day what ever, some even are planning to get married or doing the auspicious shopping etc.Well, to that I just thought “ek recipe post to Banta hai”, so here I am with “dim-panpor'er dalna” meaning – egg papad/poppadom curry (if puritans will allow me to translate accordingly), but seriously curry is a generic term and there are many variations.




I don’t know where “dalna” as in Bengali curry stands out, but yes this has gravy and spices all blended well with hard-boiled egg and fried poppadom.We do make “panpor'er jhaal” where we will fry the papad/panpor /poppadum and then make spicy gravy with onion-ginger-garlic and cubed potatoes. And yes, Bengalis can’t cook any curry like things without potatoes in it or may be it’s just us.
Anyhow, I have talked about the mint plant which was planted in jiffy here . That plant is showing splendid signs of life as its all green now, although I can't say that about those two garlic pods.



 I really don’t know what made me crazy about these aromatic mint leaves, but I have been using them regularly in gravies,biryanis or whipping up quickly mint yogurt dip/mint raita etc. I have used them in this curry also and then I added coconut milk to the mundane dim’er dalna...now to be honest, I have never ever made Bengali egg curry with coconut milk till that day.I had clicked these pictures somewhere near in July probably and as I was de-cluttering the picture folder couple of days back, I figured it out it never made up to the published list of recipe post….And it has been saved in there for these past months..Nothing new about me, you all know that well.
I have used coconut milk in fish and chicken recipes but not with eggs, and if I tell this to my Mother or MIL they would dismiss it completely saying “tumake r ranna korte hobe na” and yes they are puritans and traditional to the core. Now, with those challenges ahead, I did make this and no, I dare not serve them, this dim’er dalna. I am afraid they will be scolding me, even if I tell them see Rick Stein also makes Bengali egg curry with coconut milk. They would say who is Rick Stein, a Hollywood actor, and to that I really don’t have any answer. But call this Bengali egg curry or not, I leave it to you,  but certainly this is another variation from traditional Bengali egg curry and yes it has been made many times by this Bengali lady since then.
For the time being if you are like me, easy going and believes in tweaking on recipes, then please go ahead and make this, I have loved this egg curry with all those soft edible bits of  panpor/poppadums and that minty flavor and of course the gravy with the sweetness of coconut milk. Now to the recipe procedure



Dim Panpor'er Dalna- Egg Curry with Papad/Poppadom
Recipe requirements (serves 4-5)
Free-range egg- 4-5 hard boiled
5-6 poppadoms/ready-made papad fried or micro waved for low oil version
2 medium size onions finely chopped
3 fat cloves of garlic grated
½ inch fresh ginger grated
2 medium size potatoes cut into large cubes
Half a can of any brand of coconut milk or about a cup of coconut milk
4-5 mint leaves
Seasonings
½ tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red pepper powder
2 tsp of home-made spice blend powder- which is just dry grounded coriander seeds+cumin seeds+cinnamon stick+cloves+cardamom where last three is added just for fragrance and coriander +cumin seeds are more in proportions.
Alternately you may use 1 tsp of coriander powder
½ tsp of cumin powder
¼ tsp of garam masala powder
2-3 tej patta/ bay leaves
1 tsp of cumin seeds
2-3 dry red chilly/pepper
4-5 tbs of cooking oil (any oil of your choice)
Method
Put eggs with enough water in a boiling pot and let them boil. We need hard-boiled egg for this curry. De-shell them once they are hard-boiled. If you wish you may rub some turmeric powder at this time over them, otherwise leave it, it’s not necessary.
Now chop onions, ginger and garlic accordingly. You may even grate ginger and garlic as this imparts lovely flavor to any gravy as they release fresh juices when grated.
Heat up a fry pan/wok/kadai, add some oil you may fry the hard boiled egg evenly and the poppadoms as well. But as I said, we are making a low-oil version so, I have slightly popped them in microwave for 1 mint and then crispy poppadums are ready. Traditionally these are deep-fried to make Bengali panporer dalna- poppadum curry.
Now temper it with cumin seeds, dry red chilly and tej patta.Add in onions, ginger and garlic and  pinch of sugar and pinch of salt and keep on frying for about 6-10 mints or till they turn nice brown.
Now add in cubed potatoes and fry another 3-4 mints. Add in all the dry ingredients- turmeric powder, red pepper powder and home-made spice blend and adjust salt. Splash some water so that the spices don’t burn out. Keep on stir/fry for 3-4 mints. Add in chopped mint leaves. Coat spices well over potato cubes.
Add in a cup of coconut milk and 2 cups of water. Let it come to one strong boil.
Now add in hard-boiled egg and fried poppadoms or microwaved poppadoms/papad.
Let it simmer for about 10-15 mints or till the potatoes are soft. Tip- Poppaadums soak a lot of gravy and may sometimes go soggy, and in that case, you may add in papad at the last stage of preparing this gravy when the potatoes are already cooked well. And if you like soggy poppadums then add accordingly.
Now at the end add in garam masala and a tsp of ghee.
Serve and enjoy with warm cooked rice. You may prepare this with paneer and shrimp as well for variations.




Note
If you like crispy fried coating of eggs in your Egg curry , then fry them before you add them to the gravy.
Ready-made papad/Poppadums itself have many variations – there is crushed black pepper-corn poppadums or jeera/cumin seeds poppadums and many others.The above recipe was made with cumin seeds flavoured papad/poppadums.
You may replace egg with paneer or even with shrimp/chingri for other variations or may skip eggs altogether for making simple papad curry.

This is a mild curry and if you like more hotness, then add in split green chilies to increase spiciness.

Edited on 5/01/14 

Dim panporer dalna the way my mother does and most of the times made in our home also.


Recipe requirements
4 free range eggs
5-6 papad/poppadums (any flavor)
2 medium size potatoes
2 medium size onion
3-4 fat garlic
1/2 inch ginger
Seasonings and flavoring
¾ tsp of turmeric powder
½ tsp of red pepper powder
2 tsp of home made spice powder
½ tsp of garam masala
1 tsp of salt.
Pinch of sugar
3-4 tbs of cooking oil/mustard oil
2 bay leaves or tej patta
3/4 tsp of cumin seeds
1 dry red pepper
Method
Boil eggs properly, hard boiled eggs is what we will be using in this dalna/ curry.
Now prepare the masala
Heat up a saucepan, add oil, temper it with cumin seeds, bay leaves and dry red pepper.
Add in finely chopped garlic and ginger. Keep on stir/fry for 3-4 mints.
Now add in finely chopped onions.
In a separate fry pan, fry the papad/poppadums.Now fry the potato cubes to evenly brown them.
Meanwhile keep an eye on the other one, where onions +ginger+ garlic are being fried.
Add in fried potatoes now.Add in all the dry seasonings- red pepper, turmeric powder and home-made spice powder. I always stock up home- made spice powder- which is a mixture of coriander+cumin+cinnamon in a ratio of 2:1:1 all dry grinded. Sometimes I do also add green cardamom to it.
Coat well the spices over potatoes+ fried onion, gimger and garlic.And keep on stir/fry at medium flame. Add in about 2 large cups of water. Let it come to one strong boil.
Add in fried papad and boiled eggs. If you wish you can fry the boiled eggs to have the crunchy texture, but generally I don’t do that.
Let it simmer for about 7-10 mints at medium flame. Please check if the gravy requires some water then add in warm water and also if the potatoes are cooked through. Once done,add in garam masala at the end, switch off the flame and let it rest there.

Serve and enjoy with warm cooked rice. I have not added tomatoes and generally don’t add them but if you like that, then please include them.

Happy Cooking 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chocolate Bundt Cake recipe- Our way

It was one mundane afternoon, after finishing up cooking and cleaning, I was about to iron some clothes that were drying up, but then ironing clothes is something I really don’t fancy doing on one lazy afternoon. I had my Cous-Cous Upma ( archive post from 2010) for lunch.And as I was about to start ironing the clothes( the picture of ingredients right above the method steps has that iron even which I somehow cropped it out as that would have been embarrassing, now who needs iron as food props, right ?) The most dreadful chore so as to me, I decided, no actually I was craving for some chocolate cake and then recalled dear daughter has made a wish at the breakfast table for chocolate cake also. You know how kids and chocolate are inseparable.
As I was deliberately postponing the inauguration ceremony of my new Bundt pan, I thought may be it’s now time to do so. Here is chocolate Bundt cake recipe made on one mundane afternoon.



I love how freshly brewed coffee smells, kind of a reckoning, brings all senses alive, a sudden kick to wake you up, and perhaps when this is included in chocolate cake, this imparts a lovely aromatic blend and that dark chocolaty color. I took out spreadable butter, yogurt and eggs prior of making this cake and let it rest for a while. Then as it happens while making a cake, rest was done as accordingly.
When I spotted this Bundt pan  in a super-market here, it kind of drew my attention instantaneously.

I liked the delicate pattern of this Bundt cake, although this is a small tin as compared to the standard Bundt tin measurements, but there is this lovely design which makes me more inclined to use it over and over again.





 Although, this chocolate cake that you see now is the first time that I tried the Bundt cake, but since then I have made carrot cake, two batches of chocolate cake and one tutti –fruity cake as well. The base recipe for the cake remains same, like I replace drinking cocoa powder with more flour and shredded carrots or tutti-frutti assortment as the recipe calls for it. But today it is chocolate Bundt cake recipe for you for the time being.

Chocolate Bundt Cake
Recipe requirements
1 ¾ cup of cake flour/self raising flour
¼ cup of good quality cocoa powder
2-3 tbs of yogurt
2 free-range eggs
5-6 heaped tbs of butter spread
1 ½ tsp of instant coffee
¾ tsp of baking soda
½ cup of sugar



Method
Sift cake flour well and then mix in coco powder. Now add in baking soda.
Cream together sugar and spreadable butter well until light and fluffy. You may use vegetable oil as well
Make half a cup of coffee with the amount of coffee powder mentioned.
Now add in egg one at a time mixing through. Add in yogurt, mixing well.
Now in a big mixing bowl, mix in half the amount of flour+ cocoa powder mixture with butter+sugar+egg+yogurt mixture.
Now keep on mixing the rest of dry mixture with wet mixture and lastly freshly brewed coffee until you get a nice gooey chocolaty cake batter.
Prepare the cake tin with spraying some oil, and then dusting off evenly with plain flour.
Preset the oven at about 175 deg C or gas mark 4 .
Pour the prepared cake batter in the floured cake tin. Place the cake tin in the middle rack and then bake for about 30-35 mints. Please check your own oven settings and timing for cake baking. I guess fan assisted oven are slightly different than convectional oven in a standard microwave. Best is to read user manual and then proceed. Always keep an eye on the cake in oven.
Take out when the cake is done and let it cool off.Flip the side upside down with the help of a plate.Dust off extra flour from the top of cake with a brush.Now prepare sugar icing as usual or have it with out that.
I would suggest having it with a scoop of your favorite ice-cream. Delicious.And do you know you can even pack it in your travel-bag as a quick snack.



Edited on 6th Dec 2013
I made this cake yesterday again with few changes as I was running short of self raising flour....
*Used plain flour and then added 1/4 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 tsp of baking powder.Added strong brewed coffee about half a cup* ..
The cake batter was quite on a runny side but it turned out just like fudge cake ..dense and moist,uploading a picture with vanilla caramel ice-cream....now "delicious" is just a word here ....



Happy cooking and baking 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Keema Shalgam- Turkey Mince cooked with Turnip

It’s weekend finally, and days as it looks are getting colder here, but what else can you expect in winter season. And when it’s winter season we do get fresh supply of all sorts of winter vegetables in markets. One of them is shalgam or shaljam, whatever suits you. I have heard about shalgam-gosht a lot and was planning to make that at least once. But it looks we are now getting more inclined towards turkey as this week it’s all about thanks giving. So, here is shalgam keema recipe for this weekend break.


This is how we like to make shalgam- keema, although I would say a plain stir/fry recipe is also worth it with fresh and succulent shalgams...Here is that old recipe  from archive where shalgam sabzi was made.And these days we often do that stir/fry as shalgams are easily available now.You can even make a lovely stew with crushed black peppercorn, whole spices like cloves+cinnamon+star anise and with lamb steaks. But this semi dry curry with turkey mince brings a great change to a pre-dominant red –meat genre type of cooking recipes.
In case anybody out there wants to try it, then here is the recipe. Please pick shalgams which are fresh and tender. I have used turkey mince but chicken or lamb mince or any other mince; can also be used in place of turkey mince.
Now to the recipe
Shalgam Keema curry- Turkey Mince cooked with Turnip 
Recipe requirements

  • 400 Gms of turkey mince
  • 2 shalgam/turnip 
  • 1 tsp of red pepper powder or 2-3 green chilies 
  • ¾ tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 4 fat clove garlic
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 4-5 tbs of mustard oil
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 tsp of ghee
  • 2 tsp of lemon juice
  • 2-3 tej patta or bay leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1 medium size potato
  • 1 cup of green peas
  • 1 tsp of salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • Freshly chopped coriander for garnishing

Method

  1. Marinate turkey mince with salt and red pepper powder and lemon juice. Keep aside for about half an hour.
  2. Meanwhile we will chop Shalgam/turnip and potato. If you wish you may peel turnip skin off.Chop onions very finely and grate ginger and garlic finely.
  3. Now heat up a saucepan, add in cooking oil. Now add in cloves and cardamom and few tej patta.
  4. Add in onions, grated ginger and garlic and keep on stir/fry till they are browned evenly. Now add in all the seasonings- turmeric powder, red pepper powder, coriander powder and cumin powder, adjust salt and sugar and splash some water. Or better make a paste of the above spices with some water and then add in to the stir/fried onions+ginger+garlic.
  5. Now add in marinated turkey mince and keep stir/fry for about 7-10 mints.
  6. Add in cubed shalgam/turnip and potato.And keep on doing the stir/fry process for about 5-6 mints to coat well with spices and mince.
  7. Now add in finely chopped tomato and green peas. Cover the saucepan, no need to add extra water if you want to make a semi-dry preparation and even if you need some gravy then go ahead add about a large cup of water.
  8. Let it slowly simmer at low flame for about 15-20 mints or till the shalgam cubes and minces are cooked well. Last but not the least add in garam masala and a tsp of ghee and then switch off the flame.
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves and ginger julienne. Serve and enjoy.



Note-
The same recipe can be done with mutton or lamb mince or steaks. You may use chicken mince as well. The time to cook although will vary accordingly.Please adjust spice levels to your own personal taste.

Edited on 10/12/13 
Made this curry with Kohlrabi/ ganth Kopi/nol kopi/German Turnip/Knolkhol etc and this came out very nice ...

So, relax and enjoy your weekend break. See you next week.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tava Fried/Pan Fried Turkey Mince Seekh Kababs for Thanks Giving

With Thanks giving near us soon; these tava fried turkey mince seekh kababs are great as party appetizers or as sides with some boiled green peas, carrots and spiced new potatoes.Actually meal plans will vary with ones own personal choices of pairing up veggies and non-veg items.But I am sure these mince seekh kababs are great as sides or party appetizers and without turkey, thanks giving celebration is incomplete.



This is slightly going off track with the traditional cooking for thanks giving ,which is baking stuffed turkey.But turkey mince can also be used in this way or as keema – matar combo.Personally we have liked turkey mince,but if you can’t find them, then chicken mince is a great alternative, although taste wise it will vary slightly.
Now to the recipe

Pan fried/ Tava fried Turkey mince seekh kabab
Recipe requirements
450 gms of turkey minces
1 and ½ cup of chana dal
2 tsp of red pepper powder/cayenne pepper powder
For the basic spice powder for seekh kababs
2 tsp of coriander powder
3 heaped tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp of cardamom powder
½ tsp of cinnamon powder
2 tsp of any kabab masala or any other meat masala
2 tsp of freshly crushed black pepper
1 egg
1 tsp of vinegar
1 tsp of kewda essence
1 tsp of salt or as per taste




Method
  • Soak chana dal in warm water for about 2-3 hrs.Now wash them thoroughly in running water.
  • Wash the mince gently in water, try to do it when the mince is still cold and has been just taken out from the cold sealed pack, as this way the entire portion will stay together.Otherwise it’s not easy to wash and clean the mince.You may use a soft muslin cloth to collect the washed mince and squeeze out the excess water, just like you would normally do for paneer.Keep them aside so that they become little dry.
  • It would be nice to pressure cook chana dal with a tsp of salt for one whistle and with just enough water to cover the level of dals in pressure cooker.Let the pressure subside after one whistle.Open and it should be like a dry cooked mash of chana dal but still each lentil grains can be seen separate from each other.Keep it aside to cool off.
  • Now marinate the turkey mince with red pepper powder.We will use freshly churned cumin+coriander powder.I have a dry spice powder mix always in my pantry – made with coriander seeds+cumin seeds+green cardamom seeds+cinnamon quills+few cloves.This forms the base spice powder for these types of kababs that we make time to time.
  • Add this spice powder about 4-5 tsp or you may use the quantity of other spice powders as mentioned above for this recipe.Imp-Tip- Knead the marinated mince for 3-4 mints to blend all the spices well with the turkey mince.This kneading helps to even out the mince and spices well.
  • Add in 1 tsp of vinegar and kewda essence as well.Add freshly crushed whole black pepper.
  • Keep the mince marinating for 3-4 hrs in fridge covered.
  • Now we will pressure cook the mince with cooked dal.This way the dal and mince turns out a lovely mash sort of consistency ,which is easy to mash and then shape up.Once the turkey mince+ chana dal mixture is cooled , taste to adjust salt and spices, if required to add more, then do so.Now crack an egg and add this to the mince+dal mixture , mixing very well with hands.
  • Knead the crumble for 5-6 mints and  check if it’s not too soft or way too sticky tip if you can roll a small portion easily then the crumble is ready to be shaped.If it turns out soft then add plain flour or chick pea flour to bind off well as required, start with working out with a tsp of flour and then keep on adding if required again.
  • Divide the dough into equal portions.I ended up making 15-16 seekh kababs of about 4 -5 inches in lengths.
  • Soak up wooden skewers in water and then break them into two equal portions. Divide the cooked mince crumble/dough into equal portions of 15-16 small balls.
  • Clean your hand well with soap and water.Now put some oil generously over your palm and start slightly sliding into the skewers and shape them up.Meanwhile if your hand gets sticky, keep a bowl of water handy so that you can quickly clean up your hand and finish off the remaining job of shaping up other seekh kababs.Trick is to take a lump and then gently start sliding from bottom to top on the wooden skewers.Now rub some oil with your palms over these seekh kababs very gently without tearing the outer layer.
  • I had two batches , and when made the other batch next day they turn out more flavourful and were easy to work with.
  • Heat up a tava or iron skillet or cast iron skillet as this is what gives the real flavor not the non-stick ones , although if you are using non-stick pan you will need very less oil to shallow fry them up.
  • Add in about two tsp of oil on heated tava/skillet.Fry each sides of these kababs till they turn out nice brown at medium flame or gas mark 4 or 5 .Carefully lift and flip them up with the help of a tong otherwise they tend to fall part.If you shape them up previous night and do the frying part next day they tend to soak up more flavor and plus point is they are firm so don’t fall apart while they are being fried.
  • Serve immediately hot with other sides or with your choice of sauce.Tava fried turkey mince seekh kababs are ready to be enjoyed.Alternately you can bake them in oven, but oven baking makes the seekh kababs sometimes dry , that’s my experience so far.Otherwise there is barbecue or tandoor oven which is still available.
  • Vegetarians can do this with paneer crumble or cooked soya crumb in place of turkey mince.





If you are interested in knowing more about other culture’s food and cuisine, travel tips and local cuisine, then you can have a look at this lovely food website.All about cuisine.......



And thank you readers for reading this blog and staying with me in this journey.

Happy Thanks giving everybody.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lamb meat cooked with Liver, New potatoes and Green peas

I have heard about some fruits being used as meat tenderizer like kiwi, pineapple or green papaya. Personally I have never used them so far, and the ones who read this blog regularly you know that well. So, I never knew if it is going to work in favor for this recipe or not. I was little apprehensive before I made this lamb and lamb liver semi dry /“sukha” fried curry, but to be honest it is one of the best recipes made so far, for lamb meat. I had some unripe kiwi lying in the fruit basket and I was wondering how should I fix it, other than kiwi pie or kiwi cheesecake, so came up with this recipe with lamb meat.




The tanginess of kiwi gelled very much with spices,lamb steak and lamb liver pieces and top it all the flavour new potatoes and "hara matar" –green peas have imparted, we knew it this was heading into a delicious preparation. Addition of curry patta and coconut powder added that southern Indian rustic touch, and then addition of black peppercorn did the hammering trick. You can say pepper mutton is dressed up even more to yield a new flavor, something kind of an add-on and it looks like it’s a match made in heaven- sorry a match made in my kitchen – an idea can change a life or in this case a recipe.

Here is recipe for lamb steak piece with lamb liver,potatoes and green peas my humble first attempt at including kiwi in everyday Indian cooking. And yes the lamb steak pieces were cooked little early. This is a ‘sukha”/dry preparation enough to have it with roti…..


Lamb meat cooked with lamb liver, new potatoes, Kiwi and green peas-Mutton aur Kaleji aloo matar (When north meets up with south-jab they met)
Recipe requirements( measurements are approx) 

  • 3 lamb steaks- roughly about 400 Gms
  • Lamb liver- about 200 Gms
  • 1 large cup of green peas fresh or frozen what ever is available
  • 2 large purple onions
  • 4-5 fat clove of garlic
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • About a handful of curry leaves/curry patta
  • ½ cup of coconut powder
  • 2-3 medium size new potatoes (as this is in season now) cut into big chunks or use baby new potatoes
  • ½ cup of yogurt
  • 1 kiwi or 2 kiwi fruits

For tempering and Seasonings

  • 2 -3 cloves
  • 2-3 small green cardamoms
  • 10-12 black peppercorn
  • 1 tsp of red pepper powder
  • ½ tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp of freshly crushed black peppercorn
  • 2 tsp of coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of cardamom powder
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 7-8 tbs of mustard oil



Method
1.-.Make a marinade sauce with – yogurt+red pepper powder+salt+half of the quantity of mustard oil and finely chopped kiwi ( take the skin off) . Now rub this sauce over lamb steak pieces very well and keep it aside for 1-2 hrs.If you wish you can cut steak pieces further into small portions. If you are fine with the crunch of tiny kiwi seeds then add the whole kiwi or you may take out the pith and discard all the seeds and in that case I do think please use two kiwi fruits.

2.-You can skip yogurt at this time and add on later when all the spices have blended well with lamb pieces...It would be nice if you can do the marination overnight if using lamb meat with bones or any other red-meat.
3.-Grate ginger after peeling off the skin and do the same with garlic. We have used grated garlic and ginger rather than paste for this recipe. Chop onion very finely. Grating garlic and ginger releases fresh juices which adds up to the flavor and more the stir/fry is less hard working.

4.-Now heat up mustard oil in a big enough pan/kadai etc and fry the potatoes so that they just start turning barely brown. Take out and drain. Now that oil itself, temper this with cloves, green cardamom, pepper corn, ginger and garlic. Add in curry patta.When garlic+ginger has turned towards little brownish, add in finely chopped onions. Add in sugar and keep on stir/fry it.

5.-Add in dry spice ingredients- turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and fresh crushed black peppercorn. Keep on stir/fry till onions shrinks and becomes evenly fried and reddish-brown. I have used home-made and grounded coriander powder and cumin powder, and cardamom +cinnamon powder not the ready-made spice packets.

6.-Now add the marinated lamb steak pieces. Add in green peas. Add in half a cup of water. Mix and stir well. Add in coconut powder, cinnamon powder, cardamom powder and let it bhuno/stir/fry for 15-20 mints.
7.-Add in lamb liver pieces. Now cover this and put the flame to medium- low. After about 20-25 mints check if it’s not stuck at the base and if required splash some more water or add quarter cup of warm water.
Lamb liver pieces are cooked by this time but the lamb steak pieces will generally require little more cooking, after about 10-15 mints switch off the flame and let it sit there. If you do not want to eat overly cooked liver pieces then add them in later stages of this preparation. Usually this gets cooked in 15-20 mints at med-low flame.

8.-Let it rest for a while before you dig into it, as resting period helps in soaking up the flavor more. I try to make this in the morning if we are having it as dinner or at least 3-4 hrs before our dinner is served. And next day it’s even more flavourful.Serve and enjoy.





If you have left-over if any, then mix in with cooked rice, it gels well with it and gives you instant lamb pilaf, or boil some pasta any shape, mix it and you have a quick Indian spice inspired pasta recipe.

Happy Cooking Friends

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Paneer and Coconut Fried balls and it's seven years of food blogging

We are into November, and November means chilly and cold winter season knocking at our doorsteps, in fact today it is very cold here.And as evenings are early now, we get excuses for having fried stuff with our evening cup of tea -"chai”. These days demand for fritters and fried stuff- “tele bhaja” have gone high on our meal plans. Every season has its own effect on our eating plans or cravings. And with winter season, there are array of glorious cakes and fried stuff waiting to be made and relished. Isn’t?



No doubt, that’s show I tend to put on weight during this season. I know after reading this post, there will be some counter- reactions to go for detoxifying the body. Then there will be people judging me on grounds of my eating plans. But one thing for sure- eat according to your own body requirements and in balanced portions and remember every body is different. God hasn’t made every mould- the one we call our body same, even scientifically it is true, our DNA says so. So, please what works for me, may or may not work for you.



There was beguni as snake I mean as snack couple of days ago and then some fish shami kabab the other day, then it was time for chicken kababs adapted from this recipe as well. But occasionally there are times; we need some food which makes the vegetarian- the ‘shudh shakahari” in me feel happy about it. These paneer-cococnut fritters are great way to include a “niramish” preparation in ones menu. I have always found it very fascinating that vegetarians have so many options to make their fritters- there is possibly every vegetable in this world, that one can create fritters out of - from spinach to, zucchini, brinjal to well I think you can even make fritters out of lentil paste as well. Although this recipe was formulated by sheer checking of the ingredients stocked in the fridge at that time. Open- See-Check-Take out –Arrange-Assemble-Create-Eat. This is the sequence that happened once I opened the fridge door yesterday. I am sure this happens with most of you out there.

Now I had some fresh coconut, which I really didn’t want to make as Narkel Narus, after that cooking spree during Dassehrah and Diwali, we needed a big break from sweety-sweety thingies. And too much of sweets makes me sleepy and dozing off doesn’t help, as there are other chores which needs my attention. Then was paneer- well I don’t need to write much about this one. What was interesting to note is the addition of ajowain seeds/carom seeds and dried basil leaves which I have never used so far in making fritters. These two were like secret ingredients treasured somewhere in the cupboard and lifted up the flavor quotient of this fritter above two levels. Next onwards, I will try to add them in other fritter preparations as well. And "ajowain" as known in Hindi /"jowan" as in Bengali has great digestive properties something which the ‘Ayurveda’ tells us about.

We needed something savory, so here it is paneer coconut fried balls. And this has been our current favourite.And when a kid picks up second helpings, without even asking you, you know it very well, this will be a winner recipe. Make ahead them as a great party appetizer/starter recipe and pop them in preheated oven to re-heat them, serve and enjoy.
Recipe is up here now.
Paneer Coconut Fried balls
Recipe requirements(makes-10-14)

  • About 100gms of paneer roughly
  • 1 cup of grated fresh coconut
  • 1 tsp of ajwain/carom seeds
  • 1 tbs of coriander powder
  • 2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of red pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp of fresh and crushed whole black pepper
  • ½ tsp of dried basil leaves
  • 2 whole-meal bread
  • 1 large potato boiled and mashed well
  • 2 tsp of fresh grated ginger
  • 2 -3 tsp of self raising flour
  • 1 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • Oil for deep frying



Method

  1. Take a big mixing bowl, and grate paneer block finely. Since the one we get over here are solid, so we need to grate it otherwise you can easily make paneer crumbles if the paneer is semi-soft.
  2. To that, add in fresh grated coconut or scraped what ever suits you. I generally like to pulse through in mixer-grinder for three- four times which yields an un-even mixture of bits and pieces.And this gives that sweetish coco nutty  bites to the final product what we get after frying them.
  3. Now add in all the seasonings- coriander, cumin, black pepper and red pepper powders. Add in dried basil leaves and ajwain seeds/carom and fresh grated ginger.Add in boiled potato.
  4. Tear whole wheat bread (as that is what we eat) in to very small pieces, you may replace it with any available bread. Add this to the mixture.
  5. Now add in salt, self raising flour- enough to bind the mixture. Knead the mixture well.
  6. Divide the mixture in to equal portions and then roll them into small round balls. This much will yield 10-12 small balls.
  7. In a fry-pan or kadai , add in oil. Let it heat up properly, check if it’s done by – drop tiny portions from a paneer-coconut balls and watch if it comes to the top , sizzling and floating. You can even check by dropping some cumin seeds in to it.
  8. Now at medium flame- gas mark 5 or gas mark 6 , drop these paneer-coconut balls in to the hot oil, fry it slowly to get even brown colour.


Take out and drain over kitchen towel. Serve with ketchup or any other sauce. This goes very well as party starters and plus point is its all vegetarian. So, now you can easily make your vegetarian friends happy. Meat-lovers, please substitute paneer with any type of cooked or minced red-meat or chicken mince.

Please use fresh and home-made spice powders for best results.
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Well last month this blog by yours truly turned seven, and it’s been a lovely journey so far. What started as mere writing down few lines for a recipe-kind of pages of a recipe diary on one fine and  lazy fall afternoon,here that humble ->first post ,  has now become my special world out here. And this occasion comes again on a fall season here. The picture below says it all, isn’t?




A world of sharing, learning, growing, memorizing and noting down snippets from my day-today happenings to my ramblings etc, this blog has evolved also with each passing years.
Thank you all who like to come back here, again and again and also to those who have joined this blog recently in their blog reading subscriptions. To all of you lovely readers-old and new, this blog means nothing if it doesn't have lovely readers like you.
I know there are many silent readers, but please if you have ever tried and liked any recipes, snippets or ramblings from here, now I want to hear your voice.

Let’s hope we continue this journey in discovering ourselves and sharing, learning has no boundaries or inhibitions. We all are evolving and learning irrespective of our age, from one point to other point, let’s keep on joining the dots. Once again Thank you all...........

Happy Cooking Friends

Monday, November 4, 2013

Emarti/Jhangri and Happy Diwali

This time Diwali is on weekend and that means families have relaxed time to celebrate the festival of light and with full vigor. I do hope you all dear readers are having fabulous time with your dear and near ones. Wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful Diwali.
So with this festive spirit, I tried making emarti.Emarti/imarti as we know in north India or jhangris down in south India is made of lentil paste of urid dal.Although a close cousin of jalebis as both belong to same family, I mean the method of deep frying and then soaking up in sugar syrup is very similar but the batter or the paste which is required for both Indian donuts is not same. Here today it is jhangris or emarti recipe for you all and Diwali without sweets is incomplete.


There was a time, I never imagined myself making these sweets in home, I have always relied on store-bought sweets but living in abroad has taught me many things and gave me courage to try out many other sweets which we never would like to make in home as when sweet shops is in every corner of streets, who really like to sweat in kitchen, but trust me the thrill and excitement one endeavors can only be felt when one themselves try making these sweets in home and everything from scratch. They won’t turn out just like store-brought ones but still there is always a satisfaction that one has tried at least making in comfy of their home.





This Diwali from my kitchen to yours, here is emarti/jhangri recipe.
Emarti/Jhangri
Recipe requirements
(Measurements approx- makes 15-16 medium size)
1 large tea cup of urid dal
2-3 tbs of corn flour
2 and half cup of sugar
1 cup of water
2 tsp of cardamom powder
Two pinch of baking soda
2 cups of cooking oil for deep frying
Red/orange food color as required


Method
Soak urid dal/white lentil for 5-6 hrs in ample water. And if you don’t have that much of time, soak the dal/lentil in warm water for about 1-2 hrs or till they soak up the entire water. Wash the dal/lentil with several changes of water.
Now grind the lentil in heavy duty mixer/grinder adding water in between, just enough so that the blades rotate smoothly. We don’t want a runny paste, for this type of Indian donuts, we need light, fluffy and airy urid dal paste and if we will add more water it will spoil the game.
Now mix in corn flour, baking soda and most important red or orange food color to get the desired color of emarti/jhangri.Keep this batter rest for 1 hrs.
Now prepare the sugar syrup, add in water and then sugar, and let it simmer to get thick sugar syrup – two threads consistency sugar syrup. Once we get thick sugar syrup, add in cardamom powder. Now close saucepan once it’s all done.
Take an old sauce bottle or any other squeeze type bottle or even zip lock plastic. Now pour in the batter to the cleaned squeeze bottle and tap it well so that the batter drops in to the empty squeeze bottle...I have used an old honey squeeze in bottle which I have kept for this purpose.
Heat up a big fry pan, with ample space so that when emarti or jhangris are being deep fried, they can get space to be evenly fried.
Press the bottle and make shape of jhangris/emarti, let it fry at medium flame for about 4-5 mints or till they turn little dark. Take them out and dunk them in thick sugar syrup.

Coat all the emarti/jhangris well in sugar syrup and keep them in the syrup for about 8-10 mints. Take them out and store them in air-tight containers. Enjoy the jhangris/emarti this diwali and many more to come.



We also made some other Diwali goodies - Cashew peda, namkin, gulab jamun and of course jhangris.

And here some diya to eradicate the darkness that surrounds us.......




Wish you all a very Happy Diwali /Shubh Deepawali ........

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Aamshotto(mango leather)-Chocolate Oreo No bake Cheesecake -Kid Friendly recipe

We are having half-term holidays now, and mothers like me probably are finding it hard to keep their kids engaged with productive activities. Right, well in that case, cooking can be fun as it gives kids options to be creative, imaginative and having ample scope of fun-filled time.




Last Sunday, while I was fixing individual dessert bowls for us – no-bake blueberry cheesecake, my dear daughter liked the thought of having individual bowl of dessert, so each one of us can have our personal choices. And she told me, she will prepare her dessert bowl the way she likes to eat. Well, I don’t see any reasons to stop her, so I gave her full freedom to fix up her own dessert bowl.
And I never realized that, this can be such a scrumptious combination- aam-shoto (mango leather), mascarpone,Oreo and chocolate. I had some of the left-over stock of aam-shoto, which I got it while coming back here from Kolkata, and not to mention we all are having aam-shoto in every possible way and sometimes even as it is. She dry-grinded some Oreo biscuits in a mixer-grinder,as those are her favorite and I just happen to add some oats granola so that it becomes even more filling. Then again with mascarpone cheese, she blended her favorite Oval tine powder which made the cheese+chocolate combination in a more healthy way. Then she began layering all those and ending up with aam-shoto (mango leather).She even clicked both the pictures and here I am doing the last part of writing up the recipe and uploading it to the blog.

Try it in Diwali this year as sweets, and I am sure it’s definitely going to be a crowd pleaser especially with kids; after all it’s a kid –friendly recipe prepared by a kid only.




Aam-shotto (Mango leather) and Chocolate Oreo no-bake Cheesecake
Recipe requirements(measurements approx and serves 1-2)
Ror the toppings
Aamshoto- mango leather pieces cut into any shapes triangles or squares
2 tsp of oval tine or any other hot chocolate drink powder
2-3 tbs of mascarpone cheese
1 tbs of thick yogurt
2 tsp of icing sugar
For the base
3-4 tbs of oats granola
4-5 Oreo biscuits
2 tsp of butter spread
Method
First, dry grind the oats granola and Oreo in mixer to make even crumbs. Rub in butter spread to the oats Oreo crumble. Keep aside.
Now mix in mascarpone cheese and yogurt with icing sugar and oval tine powder. You may use bourn vita or any other hot chocolate drink powder as well.
Now take a clean dessert bowl, spread the oats+oreo crumble evenly and press it firmly with a spoon.
Scoop out the mascarpone cheese+yogurt+Ovaltine+icing sugar mixture and spread it evenly over the cheesecake base.
Now layers aam-shoto or mango leather and chocolate pieces. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Enjoy the dessert now or if you wish to chill, refrigerate in for 3-4 hrs.

An eazy-peezy no-bake cheesecake is ready.

Happy Cooking Friends

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Raspberry Jam

It has been raining here most of the time, making it grey for the time being. But, actually autumn season has turned up showing in with its sure signs of yellowing and falling leaves, and even if it’s raining it still displays out splendid views. Every year this is just like a natural rhythm and cycle, what comes in, must go out as well. And when you walk past the public pathways, it looks absolutely beautiful with falling leaves everywhere, so colorful and vibrant, but here comes rain and it lashes out everything. I would really like to see sun-rays streaming through those beautiful autumn trees, but for that I have to wait some more time I guess. I have also planted some window sill plants – it looks like mint leaves are ready to be used up in cooking, and two garlic pods have also been planted, however I am not sure how they will end up though.



These days mornings are too early for us, as it is completely dark outside, and when I put the kitchen light on, it feels like lighting up a “diya” in complete darkness, first thing that I search out the dip-dip tea –bags in kitchen cupboards to make ginger tea for us. Morning rush-hour becomes hectic there after. But still it has a rhythm of it’s own, cooking and packing lunch-boxes, getting ready to drop dear daughter off to school and we do walk to school everyday, while we get to see many beautiful autumn trees these days and what marvellous views they have.

While we are struggling with patches of rain here, I thought let me add little bit of color to our mundane cooking, so made these raspberry jam- red , vibrant and of course very sweet. And this has been finished up already with in 3-4 days. Actually this is a wish on my daughter’s part to make raspberry jam after I made Red Currant jam last time. And we have been putting up this home-made jam over rotis, paratha and as toppings over biscuits as well, and then of course there is way to use them up over our morning breakfast toast as well.
Sometimes, there is such simplicity of a recipe that there is no need to write instructions for that, but for those who are starting to make home-made jams, this is for you.
Raspberry Jam
Recipe requirements
250 Gms of fresh raspberry
7-10 blackberry
250 Gms of sugar
¼ tsp of lemon juice


Method
Wash and clean raspberry. Pluck out the sad ones.I have used black-berry as well but in very few quantity.
Now put those in saucepan put the heat to medium flame. Sprinkle about a pinch of salt and let it cook well. After about 7-10 mints they will tend to release lots of water.Press them with the help of cooking spatula so that they gets mushy or crushed well.
Now collect them and sieve through well to discard the seeds( since I was working with less quantity , I relied on the tea-strainer, but if you are working with huge quantities, I would suggest to use a good quality strainer ) and collecting all the pulp that is formed. However, if seeds don’t bother you much then proceed to adding sugar now.
Now add in sugar and let it to cook at med-low flame about 15-20 mints. Meanwhile discard any white froth forming from time to time on the top. (Ok, sometimes I tend to make sugar syrup before hand and then add the pureed raspberries, then wait till they gets thickened and mixed up.)
Once it starts to become thick, stop the flame, and then add lemon juice to it, do not cook any further now as lemon juice have been added.Take the saucepan off from the stove-top.Put a thoroughly clean glass jar in pre-heated oven; keep it for 1-2 mints so that the water in that glass jar gets dried up well. This is our quick way of doing sterilization process.
Now pour in the cooked raspberry puree in to the sterilized glass jar. Once it gets cooled,keep in fridge and it stays fresh for 8-10 days if it lasts till then.
Note-
I haven't used pectin as gelling agent for this recipe.

Similarly strawberry jam, apple jam can also be made.

Happy Cooking Friends

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fig and Chocolate Malpoa- Anjeer/Dumur- Chocolate Malpoa and Shubho Bijoya

And then the eternal ‘Anandomoyi” and ‘Karonamoyi” bid adieu to us and left us with more memories to cherish. But then every year it will be same, isn’t it and we all know good things are always momentary but even that, it doesn’t hamper our anticipations about Durga Puja each and every year.”Ashche bochor abaar hobe.”
Here wishing everyone Shubho Bijoyadashmi and happy Dassehra.



Anyhow pandal hopping was out of question here this year, as the distance to travel from one part to other is quite long, so we went to see two Puja Pandals.Here is one from Ealing Durga Puja.And I don’t know what glows more, the radiant face of ma Durga or that age old chandelier, but amidst that back-drop the beauty of eternal diva mesmerized us. We sat there in presence of her and her children’s charming persona which defies every other aspects of life for the time being, and felt blessed, blessed to see her and seek her blessings in real.
And let me convey to you all once again Shubho Bijoyadashmi.May this phase brings peace, good health and prosperity to you all.


Meanwhile I did make some fresh home-made rashogoallas yesterday and darbesh for bijoyadashmi, but then I think there are many types of sweet  recipes out here in internet and more –or less sweet-making is an art and comes with little patience and many practices.However, if you like to experiment with some foods, then here is fig and chocolate malopoas for you. We all have sweet tooth, and with malpoa it’s even better.
We are getting lots of Turkey figs here in UK, so thought of using it more and accustomed to our Indian meals. Figs as we know them by the name of “dumur” in Bengali and “anjeer” in Hindi are healthy fruits. One can even eat figs whole, once they are ripened or make a fig curry with the green ones.
Since figs are in this season, I tried to include this fruit as much as I can; I also made a fig, apple and pineapple chutney - Dumur/appel and anarosh'er chutney with it.



There is no rocket science to that recipe, it’s simple with tempering of shorshe/mustard seeds +1 whole dry red chilly in mustard oil. Add all the cut fruit pieces of figs+apple+pineapple+purple onion+raisins+cashews. Stir/fry them for about a minute and then add in a tsp of vinegar with sugar to taste and let it simmer for sometimes till all the fruits are cooked well and becomes mushy. Store in refrigerator once it gets cooled and it stays fresh for 7-10 days or may be even more.
Here is fig malpoa or Dumur diye Malpoa for you all from our kitchen. And then dear daughter asked can we have chocolate malpoas, and when kids make wishes can we say no that. I don’t know what goes in the mind of kids; they want everything made of chocolate. God knows someday they will ask chocolate korola-bitter gourd coated with chocolate, and I may surrender to that even.



But for the time-being, dear daughter is satisfied with her share of chocolate glazed + aamsotto malpoas, as she suggested this reminds her of Krispy –cream chocolate doughnuts, to that I don’t know what should I interpret – it being as compliment or need to improve a bit so that it ends up being replica of doughnuts, as in doughnuts fennel seeds are not added which is somewhat, is the key of making malpoas. And these home-made doughnuts are fresh that we know for sure and also what goes into making it.
To the recipe now
Fig and Chocolate Malpoa 
(Dumur diye Malpoa)
Makes 10-12 approx
Recipe requirements
  • 4-5 figs-poached
  • ½  cup very fine semolina/sooji
  • ¾ cup of self raising flour
  • 5-6 tbs of whole milk powder
  • 120 gms of evaporated milk ( ¾ portion of small evaporated milk can)
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 2 small and green cardamom crushed
  • Raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup of cooking oil for frying purpose
  • For chocolate glaze/icing
  • 2-3 tbs of chocolate powder
  • 5-6 tbs of icing sugar
  • 1 tbs of butter
  • ¼ tsp of lemon juice
  • For sugar syrup
  •       1 and ½ cup of sugar
  •       ½ cup of water
  •     1 green cardamom crushed



Method

  1. Wash and clean figs well and then poach them in ample water. Take them out after 7-10 mints and pass the pulp from sieve to collect the fig puree/anjeer/Dumur puree. Figs have small seeds, and it’s quite difficult to get rid of them, unless they don’t bother you much, you can use whole of the poached figs in making malpoas.
  2. Now take a big mixing bowl.Since we are using self raising flour there is no need to add baking soda or any kind of raising agent. Mix very fine semolina well. It would be nice if you can soak up semolina in lukewarm water fro about 10-15 mints so that they become soft.
  3. In a separate bowl mix in whole milk powder and evaporated milk.Mix them well until they become sticky. This forms our “instant khoya”- however if you have fresh khoya then replace instant khoya with this.
  4. Mix in all and add in fennel seeds and raisins if you are keen to use them. Just crush fennel seeds over cooking board with rolling pins, this way they impart lovely flavor.Do same with green cardamoms and add them to the flour mixture.Mix khoya with the flour mixture and then add in rest of the evaporated milk, just enough to make a smooth batter.
  5. Keep this mixture aside for half an hour to develop lovely texture and flavor.
  6. Meanwhile the batter of malpoas are resting we will prepare the sugar syrup and chocolate glaze.
  7. Dissolve about 1 -1 ½  cups of sugar in ½ cup of water, add in one crushed cardamom. And make the sugar syrup.
  8. Now make chocolate glaze- for this mix in 2-3 tbs of chocolate powder with 5-6 tbs of icing sugar+1 tbs of butter.Mix in well and then put this mixture to microwave cooking for just to melt the sugar>take out and then mix in well.Add in ¼ tsp of lemon juice.After adding lemon juice don’t cook it.Tis chocolate glaze gets solidify easily , so make the glaze ,when all the malopoas are ready after they have dunked in sugar suyrup and are cooled off ,not before that.
  9. Now heat up a deep bottom fry pan, add in cooking oil. Let it heat up properly, check the hotness of oil , drop some fennel seeds, if it sizzles then the oil is heated enough to make the malpoa.
  10. We will deep fry them, slowly at low flame so that they evenly get cooked. Please do not hurry this process as the middle of the malpoa won’t cook well.
  11. Gently drop in the mixture with the help of a large spoon. Turn the sides after 3 -4 mints and keep on frying them. When they turn deep brown in color, remove them and drain over kitchen towels, this way they absorb all the excess oil.
  12. Now drop them in sugar surup, while the syrup should be left on cooking at very low flame. After 2-3 mints remove them, place them over a serving plate to cool off. Once all the malpoas are done like this way, let them cool off.
  13. Now put the chocolate glaze over them, I have done the glaze with half of them and left other batch plain. Both the way it tasted wonderful.

And with this here is Bijoya platter for you all ....



Happy Cooking and Shubho Bijoyadashmi  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tilapia Fish Curry with coconut milk and Sharodiya Shubecha

Today is Shashti, the eternal  and mighty “Karonamoyi” and Anandamoyi” has arrived in her paternal home with all her children- Shri Ganesh, Shri Kartik, ma Lokhi and ma Saraswati .And with this every Bengali is busy with Durga Puja celebrations. Here wishing everyone a very Happy Durga Puja and Nabaratri.Sharodiya Shubecha O preeti sobaike, boro der pranam and Choto der sneho.



Well let’s hope you all enjoy and celebrate with your near and dear ones and may this phase bring you all, peace, love, prosperity and good health.
Since today is Shashti , “bodhon “ day, usually niramish preparations is done in our home, which I did exactly..

                   ( Aloo-green beans chorchori , Chick -pea Sundal, Luchi and Malpoa- a niramish platter ) 

But then this recipe of Tilapia fish curry, was saved in draft since eternal, and fish is considered "shubho" for any good occasion as well, so thought of writing it here before it goes away from my to-do-list. While grocery shopping in super-market here, I happen to get these Tilapia fish whole, as at that time fish-mongers were running some offers on fish , and I whole-heartedly grabbed them. And it was looking so fresh and red, which gave me even more temptations. Don’t get me wrong, that how could I always write about my grocery shopping extravaganza  , but trust me we do run our home on budget where quality matters rather than quantity.Anyhow, these fishes were fresh and looking great that I decided will do a quick “garama-garam” fish fry with them. And I did that exactly, after that just thought of making a fish jhol, which should be more of “jhaal” rather than a “patla jhol”.So thought of using left-over half can of thick coconut milk which was resting in fridge,something on the genre of Goan fish curry. And here is a very Goan-Bengali cuisine influenced Tilapia fish curry ready to be served.
Actually back home in India, Tilapia may not sound very intriguing to many, as when Rui/Katla/bhetki as paka mach is easily available, who is going to lay their hands on down-market Tilapia. But honestly if you ask me it's all about developing taste for any kind of food. And then there are people like us who do get fresh , red Tilapia here in abroad , so they generally do grab them when ever that’s available to them and we do not ever regret on that as well. I would say something is better than nothing.

Now to the recipe for Tilapia mache’r Narkol Dudh diye Jhaal
Red Tilapia Mach’er jhaal with coconut milk
Recipe requirements

  • 2 Red Tilapia fishes each cut into three pieces
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ inch ginger root
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp of red pepper powder
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tej patta/bay leaf
  • ¼ can of coconut milk
  • 2 tbs of desiccated coconut or fresh scraped cooconut
  • ½ tsp of garam masala freshly grounded
  • ½ cup of mustard oil
  • 2-3 green chilies (optional)
  • Coriander leaves for garnishing



Method

  1. Wash and clean tilapia fish.Remove all scales with the help of potato peeler or with a serrated knife. Now cut into three portions, of course in India, fish mongers generally do that already.
  2. Dry roast some cloves, cardamom and cinnamon over low flame and then dry grind them to make freshly home-made garam masala.Use half a tsp in this fish gravy.
  3. Now smear turmeric powder and salt over each portion. Keep it aside for half an hour.
  4. Now heat up a saucepan/kadai.Add about 3-4 tbs mustard oil, then add in fish portions. Fry each side for 3-4 mints or till they turn crisp and brown.
  5. Now make the gravy for this fish curry.
  6. Chop finely onion, ginger and garlic.
  7. In that oil itself, add more oil, now add tej patta/bay leaves,ginger and garlic. Fry them till the rawness is gone and garlic, ginger turns slightly towards brown in color.
  8. Now add in finely chopped onions. Add in desiccated coconut or freshly scarped coconut whatever is available to you readily. Keep on stir/fry for 6-7 mints or until onions starts to shrink and go slightly brown along with desiccated coconut. Both of them will provide the sweetness that is required in this gravy so no need to add extra sugar in this.
  9. Now add in finely chopped tomatoes. Add in salt, turmeric powder, red pepper powder, garam masala and splash some water so that the dry masala ingredients don’t burn out, or better make a smooth paste in a cup with some water with all the ingredients, and then add in this paste to the properly stir/fried onion+ginger+garlic.
  10. Keep on stir/fry till tomatoes shrink in size and release water and the oil separates out about 10-12 mints at med-high flame, splashing some water in between.
  11. Now add in coconut milk, with 1 or 1 and half cups of water. Slowly release the fried fish portions. Cover the pan and let it cook at med-low flame for about 10-15 mints. Once the gravy starts to become thick, stop the flame and then take it off. Sometimes I do add slit green chilies to make them even more hot and spicy. Even I have tried adding yogurt at the end to make it more savory and balance of the hotness.But if you don’t feel like adding then no need to add both.
  12. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves. It goes very well with warm cooked rice.

Note-

This fish curry recipe goes well with Salmon and Haddock as well.

         ( This was clicked way back in 2008, picture from archive, Chalta-Bagan Durga Puja in Kolkata) 

Sharodiya Shubecha O Preeti Sobaike.........