Friday, August 29, 2014

Niramish Chana'r Dalna - a Very Basic Bengali recipe

We always play down the vegetarian way of cooking a recipe, thinking that it will turn out plain= fika ranna/cooking.But there are umpteen ways of making a particular recipe and even a simple “ranna” /cooking that one craves for after having rich and high calorie food intakes, can very well be soul soothing and rewarding. Hold on to your thoughts, I won’t be doing  Ayurvedic lectures in this post – lectures giving info about – “pitta” or “vaat” or kapha “ implanting ingredients or their serious advantages- disadvantages  over non-vegetarian foods. Let’s not complicate things over here and stick to basic and simple. My basic is when we are done of eating too many rounds of non-vegetarian foods, one should slow down and eat food cooked with few ingredients or do the “niramish way of making a recipe” sans onion/garlic or even ginger, and using bare minimum spices. 

Niramish Chana'r Dalna with Narkol and Dudh 

Well, when I start with “niramish ranna”, people immediately conclude it with “chana” or “paneer’or should I say “poneer!”….so here is niramish chanar dalna sans onion+garlic+ginger.Although; ginger can be used in any niramish ranna/vegetarian preparation.

I really don’t know where I have first eaten this “chana” preparation. As per my faint memories,perhaps it was when my “Bodo Thamma” my real grandmother’s elder sister made this recipe. Like all the ‘widowed Vaishnavs”, we have seen her live a very down-to-earth life. But strange as it may sound, nobody even forced her to do it. It was her way of connecting with her god. She had an aura of calmness in her ever glowing eyes.Our family respected her for that and used to listen to her wise words, guiding us just like a north star on a dark turmoiled night. Although, I was just a pre-teen kid then, when she passed away, but I have a very diminishing image of her till today in my mind. A strict follower of lord Krishna, she had her various restrictions- white and pure clothes, short-cut hair , no make-up, jewellery  etc.And then making things even complicated, she used to eat only twice a day. Now, I would refrain from giving any other information about her, as some things should remain personal. This type of paneer recipe was again made on a “Puja” day in our parent-in-laws home. Although I can’t recall what spices were added at that time exactly, but it was a very basic and simple “niramish chanar dalna”, not even ginger+tomatoes were used.
 I guess my only contribution is to add narkol-coconut to the above to make it somewhat sweetish at this point. Now coming to this recipe. 

Niramish Chana'r dalna - a Very basic recipe to please God

This preparation comes handy if you have paneer blocks and coconut- fresh or even desiccated one for that matter .The sweetness of coconut merges well with the homogeneity of milk and paneer.Some even use whey liquid in place of milk. Some even may say after reading this recipe- as –“poneer, narkol and dudh with gravy”, I would say go ahead, what ever makes you feel happy about it and try making it in your kitchen as well. But then remember the original source where you first read it. My purpose of sharing this recipe will perhaps be achieved.
Now to the recipe
Niramish Chanar Dalna 
Recipe requirements
200 Gms of paneer cut into cubes
2 medium size potatoes cut into cubes
½ cup of semi-skimmed milk
¼ cup of medium desiccated coconut or fresh scraped coconut
½ tbs of coriander powder
¼ tsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt or as per taste
4-5 cloves
2-3 green cardamoms
2-3 dry red chilies
½ tsp of cumin seeds (optional)
3-4 tbs of cooking oil/sada tel
Since I have used ready-made “paneer” block available easily here, so there is no need of using the whey liquid for the gravy. Instead we will dilute semi-skimmed milk with water and add later.However if you want to use fresh “chana” and the whey liquid then make “chana” beforehand. My tip is to have a small box of citric acid in your pantry for that daily home-making of chana.Few pinches of citric acid and the fresh home made “chana “is easily done. Vinegar can also be used to curdle milk to get “Chana”.
Put a saucepan on heat.At medium flame, first fry the paneer cubes from each side in 2 tbs of cooking oil. Similarly you can fry potatoes cubes. For this recipe I generally don’t even fry the potatoes.take them out.
Add rest of the cooking oil; add in cloves, cardamoms, cumin seeds and dry red chilles.Fry them for about half a minute at medium low flame or till they just start to flare up.
Now add in fried potato cubes. Add in coriander powder and salt. Fry all for about 2-3 mints at medium flame.
Now add in fresh “narkol kora” /scraped coconut. In place of fresh narkol, one can use desiccated coconut as well.
Add in water to the ¼ cup of semi-skimmed milk to make it about 1 and half ½ cup of milk. Now add this to the above.
Let it cook for about 8-10 mints or till the potatoes turns soft. Add in fried paneer cubes and cover the saucepan and let it cook for 3-4 mints. Turn off the switch and let it rest in and also let paneer cubes soak up some gravy.
This is a lightest preparation of "niramish chanar dalna" and can be included as part of the “Bhog  Prasad”. However, if you want to jazz up further, then you may add ginger+cumin powder+ garam masala+tomatoes to the above.In place of sada Tel /Cooking oil , one can use pure desi ghee as well.

You may refer these recipes in net for the even more -spiced version of niramish chanar dalna- 

Since today is Ganesh Chaturthi ...So Gannapati Bappa Moorya ....Happy Ganesh Chaturthi everyone...

Happy Cooking Friends

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blueberry Muffin on a sugar high Friday

There used to be a series – way back something called- “Sugar high Friday” where food bloggers used to share recipes that were something to do with sweets and sugars. Now after such a long gap, I really don’t know if that food blog event is still running or not ( I am always on-off from food blogging world that, many things go missing from my reading list and now it is a habit.) but I really want to remember that food-event, even though this muffin recipe was made long while ago , nevertheless sharing is what I believe in , so an impromptu blog post of blueberry muffin recipe on this very Friday. Lets see if I can do it next Friday or coming Fridays, something that even I am not sure of doing hundred percent either.
Actually with so many food blog events, I somehow have started having a dizzy feeling when ever someone utters the word “event”. Don’t get me wrong but with so many food blog events and their successive tenure, I find them intimidating, the mere mention and I want to run away. If you all can be little patient with me, I want to rewind the clock and look back when there were limited food-blog events and people still have choices to come up with recipes, good recipes and within their comfort levels.  Now with each passing days the definition of food-blogging is also changing, this open social networking systems have allowed us all to mingle with each other outside our virtual domain. And with this the main focus of having valuable, homely recipes is lost; we don’t even acknowledge the original source from where one is taking up the original recipes or even ideas. And ethics have now become a passing fashion tag or should I say hash-tag.
Our world has squeezed into being hash-tags. #- holidays , #-recipes, # kids, # food-blogs  etc……

But then each one of us have their own  justified way of communicating with “readers” (and I won’t use the word – “followers” here) but honestly where you draw a line …..

I know something I won’t be able to get along well, nor am I willing to float along with the flow. So, here I am, old fashioned way sharing a recipe with out putting it or mentioning it in any other social- networking sites beforehand. Please feel free to write how your world has changed for better using social-networking sites if not less.
Blueberry Muffin
Recipe requirements
1 and ¾ cup of self raising flour
2 free range eggs
½ cup of granulated sugar
¼ cup of cooking oil
2 tbs of spreadable butter
1 tsp of vanilla essence
2 cups of  fresh blueberries
3-4 tbs of yogurt

Sift in self raising flour. Since we are using self –raising flour, we won’t be adding baking powder. In case you don’t get self raising flour then add in ½ tsp of baking powder and two pinch of baking soda to 1 and ¾ cup of plain flour.
Wash and clean blueberries and then coat them well with flour. If using frozen then generally I don’t really like to thaw them and I do add them as it is.
In a  big mixing bowl, mix in butter+cooking oil, and keep on adding sugar to this till all the sugar is used up. This should now look like a pale colour fluffy mixture. Add in vanilla essence.
Add egg one at a time mixing it through. It would be nice if you can take out eggs and yogurt prior to baking the cake at least about an hour.Add in yogurt also. If you see the mixture is curdling, then add in few tsp of flour to even out.
Now add in coated blueberries to the above mixture. Add in self raising flour and gently fold in, so that blueberries are evenly scattered within the cake batter.We need a gentle and caring hand for them , so just fold in.

Set the oven at 175 deg C. Now prepare the muffin tins. Line them up with muffin cases.Scoop out about a big dollop of this batter in a spoon and drop into each muffin cases. And bake them for about 15-20 mints or till they are golden on outside surface.This much yielded about 16-18 muffins, although I would assume them to be blueberries cupcakes rather than muffin.You can put a tooth pick in the middle, insert and take out to check if they are baked well or not.....if tooth pick comes out clean, your muffins are ready.You can put toppings or frosting as well.

If you want to make cupcakes or muffins in pressure cooker then here is this old post  -  way back in 2008.

Happy Cooking Friends