Monday, April 10, 2017

Tofu Palak Ki Sabzi- Tofu with Spinach

We have been cooking with tofu a lot these days and Tofu Palak ki Sabzi is another way of preparing tofu. You all can say Indian influence on tofu. Tofu is high in protein and is extracted from soybean milk just like our paneer which is extracted from cow milk. This recipe resembles with our very own Paneer Palak except for paneer we have used tofu. We have used super firm tofu for this preparation which is a denser variety of tofu.

Here to the recipe
Tofu Palak ki sabzi – Tofu with Spinach puree
Recipe requirements
  •  2 whole bunch of spinach leaves approx. 400 Gms
  • Tofu approx. 400gm
  •  5-6 fat cloves of garlic
  •  2 medium size onion
  • ½ inch ginger root
  • 1 large size tomato

For Tempering and seasoning 

  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  •  2 tsp of red pepper powder
  •  2 tsp of coriander powder
  • ½ tsp of cumin powder
  • ½ tsp of cardamom powder
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
  •  1 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • 3-4 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 5-6 tbs of mustard oil
  • 1 tsp of ghee

  • Clean spinach leaves properly in water. Discard the root tip and chop spinach leaves roughly.
  • Blanch spinach leaves in little water. Reserve the water that came out after blanching spinach leaves.
  • Heat up a fry pan, add 4 tbs of mustard oil, and add in cumin seeds, dry red chillies.
  • Now add in finely chopped onion, ginger, tomato and chopped garlic into it.
  • Keep on stir/fry for about 8-10 mints at medium high flame.
  • Now add in turmeric powder, red pepper powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt. Add in cinnamon, cardamom powder and sugar as well. Sprinkle little bit of water and keep on stir/fry.
  • Add in blanched spinach leaves as well. Coat well with spices. Let it cook covered for about 8-10 mints.
  • Take this fried masala and spinach out and pulse through a grinder to get a smooth ‘spinach masala paste’.
  • Add in about 2 tbs of mustard oil in a fry pan.
  • Now add in the above prepared ‘spinach masala paste’
  • Add in cubed tofu pieces and mix well with spices.
  • Add in 1 cup of water and the water that you reserved to use, after spinach blanching.Cover and cook for 10-15 mints at med-low flame.
  • Add in ghee or butter at the end.
  • Take out and serve. Enjoy with rotis or rice whatever way you prefer eating.

Happy Cooking Friends and have a great week ahead...

Monday, April 3, 2017

Instant Rava Onion Uttapam

‘’ What day is it?’’ asked Pooh.
‘’It’s today! ’’ Squealed Piglet.
‘’My favourite day’’ said Pooh…………..

Sometimes life’s greatest truth is revealed in children’s animation films. I have watched ‘Winnie- the Pooh’ several times with my dear daughter, while she still was a toddler. Although she has out grown those cartoon stories now, but some of the contextual scenes are still stuck in my mind. So simple and so profoundly told by Pooh and Piglet. Life’s greatest lesson comes from these innocent cartoons. That’s why I always believe in to nurture the innocent child in all of us. Live for the present day and create your own beautiful moments because you only are responsible for your own happiness.

Breakfast are important part of daily meal plans. And we generally on weekends tend to have more varieties for breakfast than the mundane bread and butter. So some days its rice poha, some days Upma or pancakes, some days various fruit filled crepes etc. And then occasionally these tomato onion Uttapams.I tend to cut out the long process of soaking and fermenting ingredients for uttapams. And these instant Uttapams turn out nice and delicious – no need to soak rice etc and then wait for fermenting process.
This is how we make our instant Uttapams
Instant Rava Uttapam
Recipe requirements (makes 4-5,  5’’ inch Uttapam rounds )
  •  2 heaped cups of Rava/sooji/semolina
  • ½ cup of plain flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  •  1 and half cup of yogurt
  •  1 tsp of salt or to taste
  •  About a cup of water

For the toppings
  •  1 large onion
  •  1 medium size tomato
  •  5-6 green chillies
  •  About a cup of chopped coriander leaves
  •  Salt as per taste and bit of red pepper powder/black pepper powder
  •  Cooking oil to make Uttapams.

  •  In a mixing bowl, mix in plain flour and sooji/semolina. Add in baking soda and salt.
  • Now add in yogurt and mix with the above, it will form a dough like consistency.
  • Now add in a cup of water to make a smooth and lump free batter just like dosa /pancake batter and may be even more water if it is required.
  • Now let it rest for about half an hour.
  • Meanwhile chop onion, tomato, green chillies and coriander leaves very finely. Add in salt and pepper powder – if using to enhance the hotness level.
  • Heat up an iron tava/skillet/griddle. Now drop about 2-3 tsp of cooking oil. Rub this oil very well over the griddle.
  • Now give a final mix for the uttapam batter .Drop a ladle full of this batter to the hot griddle.
  • Flatten out a bit, but not much, just like a small round similar to pancake- approx. 5’’ inch rounds. The trick is to have a little thick rounds rather than big and thin rounds, so that they puff out well and turn soft also.
  • Now immediately put finely chopped onion, tomato, green chillies and coriander leaves over the top of the uttapam. Press it gently with the spatula.Let it cook for about 4-5 mints.
  • Flip the side very carefully and now again drop some cooking oil by the sides of uttapams.Cover the uttapamas and cook further for about 6-7 mints at med-low flame. Do not hurry otherwise the middle portions will turn out uncooked.
  • Uncover the uttapam and flip the side and cook for 2-3 mints. Shift into the serving plate.
  • You can have it with tomato ketchup or more traditionally with coconut chutney. These are absolutely divine straight from the hot tava/griddle. Enjoy your breakfast.

Happy Cooking Friends

Monday, March 27, 2017

Lotus Root Curry - Kamalkakdi Ki Sabzi

I have never made lotus root curry or ‘Kamalkakdi ki sabzi’ until that day. I was going through the vegetable aisle of our grocery stores here and came across these fresh lotus roots. I got intrigued and purchased it, thinking that I will make a semi-dry curry out of it. Now here in Malaysia, lotus root is extensively eaten in soups and noodles stir /fry preparations. In UP, India, it is known most commonly as ‘Kamalkakdi’ and Kamalkakdi ki sabzi is a staple food in cold winter months. You can even make a simple stir/fry preparation with cumin seeds and dried red chilly. Lotus roots are great source of dietary fibres, they are bit crunchy and has a delicate flavour. It is also known as ‘Renkon’ in Japan and ‘Lian Ou’ in Chinese. ‘Renkon’ Chips are very popular snack in Japan. Young Rhizomes are added to salad but more mature rhizomes needs proper cooking. Lotus root should be cleaned thoroughly of mud in water.

Here is how we made Kamalkakdi ki sabzi/or Lotus root curry.

Lotus Root curry (Kamalkakdi ki sabzi)

Recipe requirements
  • 1-2 whole lotus roots – approx. 400gm
  •  2 medium size potatoes
  • 5 fat cloves of garlic
  •  2 medium size onion
  • ½ inch ginger root
  • 1 large size tomato

For tempering and seasonings
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  •  2 tsp of red pepper powder
  •  1 and half tsp of coriander powder
  • ½ tsp of cumin powder
  •  1 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • ¼ tsp of sugar
  • 3-4 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 5-6 tbs of mustard oil
  • 1 tsp of ghee
  • 1 tsp of garam masala

  • Clean lotus roots properly in water. Peel the outer skin and slice them in rounds of about ¼ inch thick pieces. Leave them for a while in water and then clean it thoroughly with water again.
  • Put a big pot with ample water to boil. Add salt and the lotus root slices and cook them for about 15-20 mints. Or alternately you can pressure cook them for two whistles.
  • Heat up a fry pan, add 4 tbs of mustard oil, and add in cumin seeds, dry red chillies.
  • Now add in finely chopped onion, ginger, tomato and chopped garlic into it.
  • Keep on stir/fry for about 7-8 mints at medium high flame.
  • Now add in turmeric powder, red pepper powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt. Add in sugar as well. Sprinkle little bit of water and keep on stir/fry.
  • Take this fried masala out and pulse through a grinder to get a smooth ‘masala paste’.
  • Add in about 2 tbs of mustard oil in a fry pan.
  • Add in potatoes pieces preferably c ubed. Fry the potato pieces evenly. Take them out.
  • Now add in the above prepared ‘masala paste’
  • Add in chopped/sliced lotus root  and fried potato pieces now. Mix lotus root pieces very well with spices.
  • Add in 2 cups of water. Cover and cook for 15-20 mints at med-low flame or till the lotus root pieces are cooked well.
  • Add in ghee and garam masala at the end. Give a final mix.
  • Take out and serve in a bowl with rotis or rice whatever way you prefer eating.

Happy Cooking Friends and you all have great week ahead.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mint Alfalfa sprouts Cherry tomato and Roasted Chicken Salad

A healthy snack can be a salad as well. This mint, alfalfa sprouts and roasted chicken salad fits in to this category perfectly. If you have some-left over chicken you can use up in this salad as well. Alfalfa sprouts are considered rich in minerals and have multiple health benefits. Mint leaves gives a nice aromatic flavour to this salad. This salad can be paired up with Mexican Burritos as sides or you can make them as main dish as well, just increase roasted chicken pieces to add lean proteins in to this salad.

Here is how you can assemble the salad

Mint Alfalfa sprouts Cherry tomato and Roasted Chicken salad
Serves- 2-3
Recipe requirements
  • 5-6 mint twigs
  • About half cup of alfalfa sprouts
  • About quarter cup of garlic sprouts
  • 1 cup of cherry tomato or 12-15 cherry tomatoes cut into half
  • 1 cup of roasted chicken small bite-size pieces

  • Take out fresh leaves from mint twigs. Clean mint leaves, alfalfa and garlic sprouts well in water.
  • Chop mint leaves finely. Chop roasted chicken in to bite size pieces (I have used chicken breast portions from  this  roasted chicken recipe).
  • In a big mixing bowl, add in mint leaves, alfalfa and garlic sprouts.
  • Add in cherry tomatoes cut in to half to the above.
  • Add in roasted chicken and mix well all.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt.
  • Add in 1 tsp of olive oil and toss well.
  • Serve and enjoy with some burritos or quesadillas as sides.

Happy Cooking Friends 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Easy Blueberry Cheesecake Recipe

We have been craving for some cheesecake for a long while now, so thought of assembling this blueberry cheesecake. Last time when I went for grocery shopping, saw these fresh blueberry and I couldn’t stop myself from buying these little cute blue gems. This recipe is no-bake cheesecake recipe. Although I happened to bake the crust/base only just to firm up a bit, so technically it’s a no-bake cheesecake recipe. I had chocolate biscuits, which I end up using for the base. Another great substitute can be Oreo biscuits as base and who doesn’t like Oreos. Traditional cheesecake is made with any salty biscuit or crackers. There are many variations, you can even use strawberry in place of blueberry with this same recipe to make Strawberry Cheesecake.

Now to the recipe

Easy Blueberry Cheesecake
Recipe requirements
For the crust
2 and half cups of chocolate biscuits crumbs/ Graham Crackers crumbs
4-5 tbs of butter
For the filling
400 Gms of cream cheese
200 ml of whipping cream
3 tsp of agar-agar powder
100 Gms of blueberry
5-6 tbs of caster sugar
For the top glaze
2 tsp of agar – agar powder
5-6  heaped tbs of sugar
1 cup of blueberry

For the crust/base

  • Make crumbs of chocolate biscuits either running through in grinder or pressing with rolling pin. In a big mixing bowl, add these crumbs and butter and mix well.
  • Now take 9 inch round baking pan or any other vessel you will be using to make/set cheesecake.
  • Rub about a tsp of butter evenly on baking pan and add all the biscuit crumbs, pressing gently to even out the surface. TIP- you can use Oreo biscuit crumbs as well for a delicious base.
  • Put in to bake for 5 mints at 175 Deg C. Take out and let it cool a bit.

For the cheesecake frosting

  • Now in a separate and clean mixing bowl, add in cream cheese, whipping cream reserving about 50 ml of cream. In a separate cup take this 50 ml cream and add in agar-agar powder. Microwave it for about 30 sec. We require lukewarm cream, just enough to dissolve the agar –agar powder. Let it come to room temperature and cool a bit.
  • Keep on folding cream cheese and whipping cream. You can use mixer as well. Now add in blueberry if you like chunks in the top frosting of cheesecake, otherwise you may skip. Add in the agar-agar and cream mixture and slowly mix in all. TIP- you can use Greek style thick yogurt in place of cream cheese to make it lighter, the taste will be little different, but will be less in calories.

For the top blueberry glaze

  • Meanwhile make the blueberry top glaze. Put a melting pot on cooking and add in blueberries and sugar and let it cook for about 7-10 mints. Crush blueberries with spatula and add in agar-agar powder. Cook further 2-3 mints and take out. Let it come to room temperature.
  • After the base is cooled, add the cream cheese +whipped cream mixture over the baked crust. Even out the surface with a clean knife.
  • Now add the blueberry top glaze, even out the surface and let it set and cool a bit.
  • Leave the blueberry cheese cake to cool and set in fridge for about 7-8 hrs or overnight.
  • Take out and cut slices and enjoy delicious blueberry cheesecake.

Wish you all a very Happy Holi. हैप्पी  होली !
May festival of colours bring you loads of happiness and enjoyment in your life.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Belanak fish curry- small Mullet fish curry

Bengali people and fish are inseparable identity. Here in Malaysia, I am being introduced to many local fishes on a regular basis. One among them is ''Belanak'' or gray mullet fish here. Belanak is a local fish and even more popular in Indonesia. These fishes are small and it reminds me of our very own ‘Puti’ and’ Morula’ fish. Although the ones I picked up are little bigger, more of size of our palms, some can even grow bigger than that as well. Any recipe with morula and puti can very well be incorporated with Belanak also.

This is our way of making belanak fish- Bengali way.Belanak fish can also be eaten if they are deep fried and goes very well with sambal belacan – a very spicy condiment served along with ‘nasi lemak’- a fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves here.

Belanak Fish curry (Gray mullet fish curry)
Recipe requirements
  • About 12-15 small belanak
  •  10-12 cherry tomatoes
  • 3-4 Thai red chilly
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 5-6 shallots  

Spices and seasonings
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder (½ tsp of stir/fry and ½ tsp for rubbing on belanak)
  •  2 tsp of red pepper powder
  •  ½ tsp of coriander powder
  •  1 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • 3-4 Thai red chillies
  • 5-6 tbs of mustard oil
  •  1/2 tsp of Kalo jeerey/nigella seeds

  • Clean, and remove scales of belanak fish. Clean the fish stomach as well.
  • Rub in fish with turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside.
  • Heat up a fry pan, add 2 tbs of mustard oil, add in belanak fish and stir/fry them for about 2-3 mints flipping sides as well. Take out in a separate bowl.
  • In that fry pan itself, add more mustard oil, add in nigella seeds, chopped garlic and Thai red chilies.
  • Now add in tomato and shallots slit in between as well. Keep on stir/fry for about 5-6 mints at medium high flame.
  • Now add in turmeric powder, red pepper powder, coriander powder and salt. Sprinkle little bit of water and keep on stir/fry.
  • Add in fried belanak fishes.
  • Add in one –two cups of water depending upon the consistency of curry. Cover and cook for 7-8 mints or till fishes are cooked through well.
  • Take out in a serving bowl. This goes well with warm cooked rice.

Happy cooking friends

Monday, February 20, 2017

Cabbage with Shrimp stir/fry - Chingri diye Bandhakopi - চিংড়ি দিয়ে বাঁধাকপি

I don’t need to write about the benefits of green leafy-vegetables. So I will skip that part and also I don’t want to sound boring and rhetoric to you all. Cabbage with shrimps, now who doesn’t like shrimps except few of us, who have allergies. This is a very homely Bengali way of making cabbage with shrimps. People may have little variations to it, like some may use cumin seeds for tempering, some may not, and many will go on to add grounded ginger+ cumin as the base of the masala. Please use ingredients, whatever way you want to make.

This is how this recipe is made in our kitchen.

Chingri diye Bandhakopi – Cabbage with shrimp stir/fry recipe

Recipe requirements
  • 1 whole cabbage – approx. 400gm
  •  De-veined shrimps- 300- 400 Gms
  • 2-3 fat cloves of garlic
  •  1 medium size onion
  • 2 medium size tomato

For tempering and seasonings
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder (½ tsp of stir/fry and ½ tsp for rubbing on shrimps)
  •  2 tsp of red pepper powder
  •  1 tsp of coriander powder
  •  1 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • ¼ tsp of sugar
  • 3-4 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp of panch phoron
  • 5-6 tbs of mustard oil
  • 2 tsp of ghee
  • 1 tsp of garam masala

  • Chop green cabbage finely.
  • Clean, de-shell and devein Shrimps. Rub in shrimps with turmeric powder and salt.Keep aside.
  • Heat up a fry pan, add 2 tbs of mustard oil, add in shrimps and stir/fry them for about 2-3 mints and take out in bowl.
  • In that fry pan itself, add more mustard oil, temper it with panch phoron, dry red chillies.
  • Now add in tomato and chopped garlic into it. Add in chopped onions.
  • Keep on stir/fry for about 5-6 mints at medium high flame.
  • Now add in turmeric powder, red pepper powder, coriander powder and salt.Add in sugar as well. Sprinkle little bit of water and keep on stir/fry.
  • Add in chopped cabbage now. Mix cabbage very well with spices.
  • Add in quarter cup of water.Cover and cook for 7-8 mints or till cabbage leaves are cooked through well.Add in fried shrimps now, stir/fry and mix with a spatula for another 3-4 mints.
  • Add in ghee and garam masala at the end. Give a final mix.
  • Take out and serve in a bowl.


You can add chopped potatoes and green peas as well.

Happy Cooking Friends

Monday, February 13, 2017

Chocolate Panna Cotta Recipe

Now that Chinese New year celebrations have ended in our neck of the woods, shops and shopping malls are now decorated with V-day themes. Well, nothing wrong in decorations and shopping for V-day. But to each, for having their personal views, and I am like we don’t need a particular day to fall in love and express love. It can be any day or probably every day. So, V-day or not, love every day, time is running out, if you love/like anyone say it, and don’t hold back. Love almighty god, your parents, your siblings and your family first and last but not the least love yourself for what and who you are. Unless you love yourself or be happy, you cannot love others and make others happy. Ok, dearies no more ranting for today. So, enjoy and have great V-day celebrations, whatever way you all prefer.

We have been craving for some chocolate dessert for a while and what better way in indulging than having chocolate panna cotta.
Now to the recipe

Chocolate Panna Cotta ( Suitable for Vegetarian) 
Recipe requirements
  •  1 cup of whole milk
  • 400 ml cream
  • 6-7 heaped tbs of caster sugar
  • 5-6 heaped tbs of cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp of instant coffee
  • 3-4 tsp of agar –agar powder

  • Put a large pot with milk, cream and sugar on cooking. Let it come to one boil.
  • In a separate cup take 2-3 tbs of warm milk and dissolve agar-agar powder.
  • Mix in cocoa powder and instant coffee powder. Add in agar –agar with milk and keep on stirring till all mix well.
  • Now add the above cocoa powder mixture to the boiling milk and cream mixture. Keep on stirring for another 8-10 mints at medium flame. Now switch off the flame. Let it cool a bit.
  • Pour in bowls /cups and cool. Refrigerate them in  panna cotta moulds or what ever you would be using to set.
  • Set in fridge for 5-6 hrs.  Take out and serve.

  •  You can use gelatin instead of agar-agar if it’s not available.
  • This recipe is suitable for vegetarian as agar –agar is a great substitute for gelatin which is derived from animal products.

Wish you all a very happy V-day.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Dal-Saag (Lentils cooked with Amaranth leaves)

There are days when, I can only think of comfort foods and dal –roti is one such recipe which never gets ruled out and we never get bored out of it either. Dal- saag is adding up more greens to those ‘’everyday dal recipes’’. I have used up green amaranth leaves with chana dal+ masoor dal. Many use spinach , some even use beetroot greens. Choose whatever you wish to, bottom line is, this is a great way of incorporating greens in one’s diet-plan.
This is how we make Dal-saag – our comfort food.

Dal-Saag (Lentils cooked with Amaranth leaves)
Recipe requirements
  •  2 cups of chana dal ( Yellow split pea lentil)
  • ¼ cup of masoor dal ( orange lentil ) 
  • 1 bunch of amaranth leaves or 800 gm of amaranth leaves -stems discarded

For tempering and seasonings

  • ½ tsp. of turmeric powder
  •  1 tsp of red pepper powder
  •  1 tsp of coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp of cumin powder
  •  1 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • 1/2  tsp of sugar
  • 3-4 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 2-3 fat cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • Pinch of hing
  • 4-5 tbs of mustard oil
  • 2 tsp of ghee

  • Soak chana and masoor dal for about 2-3 hrs in a vessel with water.
  • Put cleaned dals in pressure cooker.Add in 2-3 cups of water.Let it come to one boil, Remove /skim off the white foam that is forming now. Close the pressure cooker, by securing the lid with whistle.
  • Now pressure cook both dals together for 2 whistles with ample water. Let the pressure subside and then open the lid. Add more water if it turns out semi- dry. Add in turmeric powder, red pepper powder, salt and sugar. Mix well and keep aside.
  • Now heat up a fry pan, add in mustard oil. Let it come to smoking point.Now do the Tarka/tempering.
  • Add in cumin seeds, dry red chillies and hing. Add in chopped garlic and tomato. Add dry spices- coriander+cumin powder.
  • Stir/fry all for about 3-4 mints at med-high flame or till oil separates out.
  • Clean Amaranth leaves in water.Take out tender shoots and healthy looking leaves from the bunch, discard stems..
  • Blanch amaranth leaves separately. Add the leaves to the cooked dals ( Lentils). Let it simmer for about 8-10 mints.
  • Add the tempering/tarka to the above cooked dals with greens.
  • Let it slowly simmer for about 4-5 mints. Add ghee at the end. Serve and enjoy with roti or rice whatever way you prefer.
Tip- You can add in some toasted cashews to the above dal or Paneer cubes as well.

Happy Cooking and have a great week ahead.....

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Chingri Mach'er Malaikari ( Our Version ) -Prawns with coconut milk- চিংড়ি মাছের মালাইকারি

First month of a new year 2017, and even before I can realize, it’s about to wrap up fast. I haven’t briefed you all with New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.So, will write it all today. We went to central Kuala Lumpur and captured some of the beautiful moments through our smartphones. So below you will see couple of pics taken on 31st Dec 2016 capturing New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.

Welcoming 2017 

It was all crowded, decked up and people were enjoying rest of the hours that were left of 2016.

We also stopped by to the countdown to the New Year and watched fireworks lit up Kuala Lumpur skyline and Petronas towers.

Petronas Towers

Glowing and scattering its sheen in the dark, catching up moon’s natural light, Petronas tower looks magnificent in night light , shinning like a beautiful silver ornament.

There were other parts of street also decorated with glittering lighting.
And on 28th Jan, we observed here Chinese New Year-  this year  is ‘Rooster’ year.

Decorations in shopping malls during Chinese New Year

This also marks spring festival celebrations in Chinese communities. Irrespective of sects – Taoists, Confucians, Buddhist, Chinese people celebrate New Year where ever they are scattered in the world at this time. People flock back towards their home and re-unite with their families to observe Chinese New Year. Everyone celebrates by decorations with ‘duilian’ (a pair of scroll on which poetry is written) and giving red packets or ‘ang paow’ with money. 

Bright giant  Lanterns in shopping malls- mid-valley mall

Homes are decked up with bright lights and red lanterns. The whole atmosphere is all lit up with glorious red colour. The traditional dinner lines up on New Year’s Eve, and it’s very similar to ‘Thanks-giving’ celebrations in US.
All shopping malls are decorated. China town in Kuala Lumpur is a special buzzing place where one can see celebrations and also the Lion dance. Schools and offices, as usual are closed during these days in Malaysia.

A typical Cantonese Home on display- notice cycle at  corners

Now after all those introductions to Chinese New Year celebrations, it’s time to write about the recipe for today- Chingri Malaikari -Or prawns cooked with spices and coconut milk. There is a version of making it with ginger only and below is the version we make with onion+garlic+ginger+tomato paste.
Puritans would abstain from using tomato, as tomato in Bengali cuisine is a recent addition in making meat preparations. I don’t know much about ‘Ghoti’ version or ‘Bangal’ version, but this seems more to me a ‘Ghoti’ recipe. So, being a ‘Ghoti’ myself, I generally end up using sugar in the gravy. Now each variation, has its own charm and one should always follow what one likes to eat.

Here is how we make Chingri Malaikari with freshly grated coconut.

Chingri Malaikari (Prawns cooked with coconut milk) - Our way 

 চিংড়ি মাছের  মালাইকারি 

Recipe requirements

  •  600 Gms of XL shrimps or 10-12 prawns

  • ½ tsp of turmeric powder
  • Salt as per taste for marinating prawns
  •  1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp of red pepper powder
  •  1 ½ tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • ½ tsp of cardamom powder
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp of nutmeg powder
  •  1 tsp of sugar
  • 4-5 green chillies or 2-3 Thai red bird chillies
  • 2 and half cups of freshly grated coconut
  •  2-3 medium size onions
  • 4-5 fat cloves of garlic
  • Half inch ginger root
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 3-4 cloves
  •  2-3 green cardamoms
  • ½ inch cinnamon stick
  • 6-7  heaped tbs of mustard oil

Salt as per taste
 1 tsp of ghee

  • Cleaning shrimp/prawn is a tedious process.
  • Deshell all prawns or shrimp whatever you are using.
  • Keep the tail intact. Now if you want to keep the head, then do so, just take out the portions with eyes and tentacles. I am not that expert in cleaning head of big prawns (So, I ask fish-mongers in India to clean the head for me, and they are expert in cleaning the head. However here in KL, I do clean shrimp heads often and that is what generally I use for any chingri preparations)
  • There is a thread (actually it’s the vein of prawns which we need to discard) – darkish colour sometimes mud colour, which you have to take out. From the dorsal side make a cut in the one end near tail region– and take that thread out gently. After de-shelling and de-veining, clean prawns well in water.
  • Rub turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside in a bowl for 5-6 mints. Heat up a fry pan and shallow fry shrimps for about 2-3 mints at med-high or till they barely change colour. Take out and keep aside.
  • Now take 1 cup of freshly grated coconut and run through in mixer/grinder with 2 cups of water. Once all gets thoroughly grinded, add more water to it and filter out the coconut milk from its solids, squeeze the remaining coconut residues well to collect rest of the coconut milk. This will make our fresh coconut milk which we will be using in for the gravy.
  • Now chop onions, tomato, ginger and garlic finely.
  • Heat up a fry pan/kadai.Add in mustard oil.
  • Add in cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick.
  • Then add in finely chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Add in tomato pieces also.
  • Take all the spices (leaving behind cardamom+cinnamon+nutmeg powder) in a big bowl and mix in well with half a cup of water.
  • Add this spice mixture to the above and keep going stir/fry the whole things.
  • Add in tomato and sugar. Add in red Thai chillies slit in between. Add salt. Add in rest of the freshly grated coconut.
  • Now after 10-12 mints when all the spices, onions, ginger and garlic is properly fried. Take out and run through in mixer/grinder to make smooth spice paste.
  • Now add in bit of more mustard oil in the same pan and add in the above prepared paste, and fry through well. Adjust salt, sugar and hotness if required.
  • Now add in fried shrimp to the above and put the flame to low. Cover and let it cook for 7-8 mints.
  • Add in coconut milk and sprinkle cinnamon+cardamom+nutmeg powder or ‘garam masala’. Add in ghee at the end and cook further for 4-5 mints and take out chingri malaikari in a serving bowl. Enjoy with warm cooked rice.

Note- You can use a can of thick coconut milk. And also sometimes only ginger is added to make malaikari leaving onions+garlic+tomato.Please follow what ever you prefer in this recipe.

So tomorrow is Saraswati Puja.May Goddess Ma Saraswati bless us all with knowledge and wisdom. 

Shubho Basanta Panchami  - ''শুভ  বসন্ত  পঞ্চমী''  everyone.

Happy Cooking

Monday, January 23, 2017

Kolkata Diary - একটুকু ছোঁয়া লাগে একটুকু কথা শুনি

A visit to home city is incomplete if I don’t mention it here. This was one of those many visits which don’t need any preparations and planning. I was going to my home and visiting home doesn’t need any sort of invitation.
‘’Boro din’’ aka Christmas in Kolkata is a big festival. We were out one evening, a day before Christmas to get into the festive spirit this city has to offer. We went to Park Street, where all the buzz was centered. And what maddening rush, we came across there.The street was well regulated by traffic police.

It was sea of people and more people. We were literally walking like Penguins in waddle. And if someone gets lost there, a Hindi film- script writer can write a story revolving the separation caused by this maddening rush. Something like ….......
’’Park- Street ke Bheed mein bichde do bhai or bahan’’- (meaning is lost in translation).

Anyhow that is a different story, and our story is real. We were slowly absorbing the festivity. So many street hawkers selling various props, Christmas hats, face –masks, hair bands, and what not. Nobody can believe that almost all of them are non-Christians and they do celebrate Christmas like even Christians won’t celebrate in Europe. Total contrast as compared to western way of celebrating Christmas where people are mostly confided in their homes spending time with friends and family. And that’s the beauty of India lies- unity in diversity.
While, we were slowly moving and walking towards the other end of Park Street, dear daughter stopped at  iconic Oxford book store and purchased couple of story books from there.

We then went to Flurys to buy Christmas cake. The iconic Flurys was all decked up. There were many stalls selling different varieties of Christmas cakes.

Fruit cake, Red Currant and cranberries cake, date and walnut cake, plum cake etc. We picked date and walnut cake and while we were in queue to pay the bills, we happened to click few pics.

We even saw decorations throughout the city street while we were going to catch our flight back to KL.

 One more evening we went to Princep Ghaat, and were mesmerised by the sunset at Ganges.
The evening sky with all its colourful vigour, the magnificent Hooghly Bridge and river boats were painting a perfect sunset picture for us - misty and all dreamy.

Although we didn’t venture out for boat riding, but saw many couples going for boat rides. This time we noticed, boats were provided with life-jackets for passengers and a solar panel is installed on each boat hut to supply for the light in boat and we thought, whoever has planned this or came up with this idea, needs applause for that.

We had ice-cream cones from the street vendors selling ice-creams. While coming back to home, we stopped at 'Arsenal' to have our favourite biryani. This is something we always like to do – having biryani at 'Arsenals' is our must to-do-thing while visiting Kolkata... 

We had to queue up to get inside, but that’s not a problem at all for us. Biryani as usual was flavorful, fluffy and light and with nice aroma. We came back home tired with loads of memories for that day. 

Kolkata always surprises us with something new, although we were home-visiting but ended up being travellers there, exploring some new facets of life there.

This is it, we came back to KL, with all those splendid memories to cherish.

কথা ছিলো অনেক বলার , কিন্তু আজকে এই খানে  শেষ করলাম। ..............

We are also paying our sincere tribute To Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on his 120 th birth anniversary ..May his legacy inspire many more future generations.

See you all soon with a new recipe post. You all take care. Have a great week ahead.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ranga Aloor Pantua- রাঙ্গা আলুর পান্তুয়া and Happy Makar Sankranti

A new year 2017 and I am here, with my first blog post of the year. Hope you all had fantastic New Year celebrations.
We visited our home city Kolkata during these holiday break. And that requires a separate post I reserve for some other day.

I will share a dessert recipe to start off New Year blog post-‘ Ranga aloor pantua ‘- sweet potato dessert, is one such traditional Bengali sweet recipe. I have blogged about the recipe way back in past as well. Here- back in 2009 . This post is however a recipe which is re-visited and with couple of additions. 
This recipe is simple, as it doesn’t have coconut stuffing which makes it similar to ‘Ranga Aloor Pithe’. Since we are observing ‘Poush-Parbon’ these couple of days, I thought it would be appropriate to write about Ranga Aloor Pantua- pantua as like Gulab Jamuns in Hindi.

Sankranti celebration is a big affair in every Bengali home- some, even extending it to 3 –days celebrations. Each day is marked with various types of Puley/pithe being made. I have blogged many recipes for Sankranti …
This archived blog-post has all those traditional recipes which one can make during these period.
To the recipe

Ranga Aloor Pantua- Sweet Potato Gulab Jamun- রাঙ্গা  আলুর পান্তুয়া 

Recipe requirements

10-12 purple sweet potato
¼ cup of plain flour
2 pinch of baking soda
1 and ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
3 cups of granulated sugar
2 cups of water
½ tsp of cardamom powder
Cooking oil for deep fry 

  • Put a large saucepan with water and sugar on cooking.Add in cardamom powder. The water content should be reduced to half and the syrup will be slightly thick like to coat well the pantuas = gulab Jamuns.
  • Now pressure cook sweet potatoes. Take out , peel off the skin and let it cool a bit , so that you can work it through but don’t let it go cold otherwise it will be hard to mash up well.It would be nice if the mixture is lump free and smooth.
  • Now in a big mixing bowl, take the sweet potato pulp/mash, add in cinnamon powder.
  • Now mix in plain flour and pinches of baking soda, add flour to above mashed sweet potatoes, mixing in very well. Make small balls out of the dough.Be gentle in shaping these balls.
  • Put a heavy bottomed pan/kadai or deep frying pan to flames. Add in cooking oil, enough to deep fry these cute small balls.
  • Deep fry them for about 5-7 mints at medium-low flames or till they turn into nice brown in colour. Do not hurry this process otherwise they won’t cook well.
  • Transfer them all over kitchen towels, so that they absorb extra oil.
  • Now dunk them in sugar syrup and let the sugar syrup simmer slowly at low flame for couple of more minutes. Switch off the flame and cover.

Let it rest for about an hour. Serve and enjoy these delicious pantuas.

Some more Sankranti recipes

Till and Badam ki Mithai

Choshir payesh-on-sankranti

Dudh- Puli pithe

Again wish you all a very Happy  Makar Sankranti, Lohri, Pongal and Bihu.

Happy Cooking