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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Chicken Dry Curry- Murgir Makha-Makha Jhaal


The leaf of every tree, brings message
From the unseen world, look every
falling leaf is a blessing
-          Rumi



Past couple of days, its raining here, sometimes persistent and sometimes intermittent. We are observing sudden drop in temperatures in the mornings and evenings. If it rains the weather becomes cold and soggy which is typical of autumn season in this part of the world. 


Although, fall season has an enticing aura and grandeur. Each and every falling leaf has a beauty of its own. I was strolling out, in one of our local parks and tried to capture some moments with my mobile.



And also, this blog has turned 13. Thirteen long years have passed, when I first wrote a random blogpost in blogger in 2006.It feels nice to be connected to my readers, who have subscribed the blog posts and feeds.
Although, I am not that active in using other social media platforms, this blog still has some loyal readers. I must thank them and new readers for coming back here for recipes and more for years now.

Now to the recipe for todays post- chicken curry. I would not want to label this as curry. But I fail to come up with exact replica for ‘makha-makha jhal’ in English. I have taken some liberty in naming this dish chicken dry curry. I have used ajwain/carom seeds for making this dry curry, although it’s not the only ingredient, which I would like to highlight.
Although must admit ajwain/carom seeds being a digestive enhancer helps in balancing off the richness of the gravy that comes with walnuts and all whole garam masala ingredients.
The use of freshly grounded spices like mace, cloves and cardamom has infused much aroma to the gravy. The gravy was done in slow stir/fry type.
This is a work of patience, as you need to pound and grind the spices for a lovely aroma, which adds up to the gravy. I took the pictures with my mobile as usual. Hope, it justifies the texture of the gravy.

Now to the recipe.


Chicken Dry Curry- Murgir Makha-Makha Jhaal
Recipe requirements
  • Chicken – 1kg
  • 4 medium size onions
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • ½ inch ginger
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 2-3 medium size potato cut into half
  • 5-6 walnuts
  • ¼ cup of raisins

Seasonings
  • 1 tsp of red pepper powder
  • 2 tsp of coriander powder
  • salt as per taste or 1 tsp 
  • 5-6 tbs of cooking oil 


To be freshly grounded
  • 2 tsp of whole black pepper
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 4-5 green cardamom
  • Few strands of mace
  • ¼ tsp of carom seeds
Method
  • Wash and clean chicken pieces thoroughly. I have used 4 leg-sides portions for this curry which makes approx 1 kg of chicken.
  • In a food processor or mixer/grinder, grind onions, garlic, ginger, walnuts, raisins, tomato and green chillies to a smooth paste.
  • Now heat up a heavy bottomed fry pan, add cooking oil.
  • Add in the prepared paste, add in salt, turmeric powder, red pepper powder and coriander powder and keep on stir/fry for 10-15 mints.
  • Meanwhile in a mortar/pestle, dry grind- carom seeds, cloves, cardamom, whole black pepper and mace.
  • Now add in cut potatoes to the above. Add the dry grinded masala powder now.
  • Keep on stir/frying for about 5-7 mints more. 
  • Now cover the pan and let it cook. Do not add water, if you want a dry gravy with it. Lower the flame and let it slowly cook in its own juices and all spices for about 30 -35 mints or till all the chicken pieces turns soft and cooked through well.


Happy Cooking Friends

Friday, October 11, 2019

Orange Avocado and Mint Salad



Now that Ma Durga has gone back to Shiva’s abode with her children, leaving behind us with heavy hearts, the routine life for most of us has started whether you are living in New York, London or Kolkata or for that matter, any part of the world. Each and every year, we so look forward to spent these 4-5 days with loads of enthusiasm and zeal. But once those days are spent, the longing to spend, few more days keeps on coming back. I haven’t yet wished Vijayadashami to my readers. Let me wish everyone a Shobha Bijoya and Happy Dussehra.

I have been receiving few messages for Bijoya and Dussehra greetings. Couple of them got my attention, so thought its worth mentioning here. Dussehra festival is celebrated in India and abroad by Hindu people and it’s a very inclusive festival, where everyone is encouraged to participate and celebrate irrespective of their choice of religions. The community food distribution during these days is open to all sects of the society, where ever you can go and join in. The ethos implies in ‘Vasudhev Kutumba-kum’ in Sanskrit meaning -"Entire cosmos is our family". 

In today’s context Dussehra implies in these few lines.
The demon is always within.
The Goddess is always within.
The battle too, is always within.
And so is the triumph of one, over the other.
Which one, over which one?
That choice is also, somehow always within.”
Everyone is capable of making good choices for themselves, no matter how much adverse circumstances can be. As The headmaster of a wizard world ‘Hogwarts’- Albus Dumbledore once said to Harry Potter in the famous Book- Chamber of Secrets.
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” The choices made by us defines our personalities as well.



Now to the recipe for this post- Orange Avocado and mint salad. We have been getting fresh oranges over here and since autumn and oranges go hand in hand, thought let me share a very simple salad recipe. After eating out all sorts of rich and festive food items, now its time to detox a bit. This salad is healthy and very diabetic friendly recipe. It is also good for people who wants to keep a watch on their blood pressure levels.
Now to the recipe
Orange Avocado and Mint salad
Recipe requirements
  • 2-3 oranges
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1cup of mint leaves
  • ½ cup of grated paneer
  • For dressing
  • 1-2 tsp of olive oil
  • Salt as per taste
  •  ¼ tsp of Crushed black pepper

Method
  • Peel oranges and separate pieces. Cut and chop avocado, carrot into bite size pieces. Separate mint leaves from its twigs.
  • In a big salad bowl, put all the above – oranges, avocado, carrot and mint leaves.
  • Now grate a big block of paneer to get about a quarter cup.Add to the salad bowl.
  • Now add in olive oil and seasonings- salt and freshly crushed black pepper.
  • You can add red chilly flakes for an extra kick in the salad.
  • Tip- to make it even more filling, can add cooked black beans or rajma as well.



Happy Cooking Friends 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Chicken Cutlets


Autumn invokes warmth and the familiarity associated with festivity. With harvest festival Halloween end of this month in western hemisphere and in other part of the hemisphere Navaratri and Deepawali in tows, autumn season has become even more happening and beautiful.


Next four days are very busy for every Bengali as its Durga Pujo.
Let me wish everyone Shubh Navaratri and Happy Durga Pujo. Enjoy and celebrate with good food in good company.
These chicken cutlets have turned out delicious and you can try out making them. These are great as starters and makes great accompaniment with Pulao and Korma.
More Durga Pujo recipes over Here.

Now to the recipe



Chicken Cutlets

Recipe Requirements
  • Roasted chicken- ( recipe link )300 gms
  • 1 big purple onion
  • 5-6 green chillies
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped coriander leaves
  • Spices and seasoning
  • 2 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  •  1 tsp of garam masala
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
  •  2 tsp of red pepper powder
  • 2 tsp of freshly grounded black pepper
  • ½ tsp of ajwain (carom) seeds
  • 1 tsp of salt or as per taste
  •  2-3 tbs of cooking oil for pan frying
Method
  • Chop onion, garlic and green chillies.
  • Take roasted chicken in a bowl. Add all of the chopped onions, garlic and green chillies into it.
  • Add salt, red pepper powder, coriander powder, garam masala and freshly grounded black pepper, cinnamon powder and cumin powder. Add in finely chopped coriander leaves.Mix them well with hands.
  • Refrigerate the mixture for about an hour so that the mixture gets firmer and it will be easy to shape up patties. Divide the mixture into 5-6 portions and shape them like patties.
  • Put a non-stick tava/skillet on flame at medium flame.
  • Drop about a tsp of oil. Tava fry them for about 3-4 mints at medium flame have a nice dark brown crust.
  • Take out and serve.
Happy Cooking Friends. And Sobaike Sharodiya Shubecha-  শারদীয়া শুভেচ্ছা  ও প্রীতি সবাইকে। পুজো খুব ভালো কাটোগ সবাইকার। Happy Durga Pujo !! 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Let Me Take You Far Away -3



‘Once a year go someplace, you have never been before.’
            -Dalai Lama
I have travelled many places, but when it comes to Wales, this place has always fascinated me. 



I have talked about our time outs in Wales over here and here  in past. This place has special connections with me.  

Llanfairfechan- Wales

North wales is blessed with plenty of hiking paths, walking trails, quaint cities, historical castles and the beaches are also very nice. The sea-water is very cold to our standards, but locals find it absolutely comfortable.

Llanfairfechan 

I cannot imagine dipping myself in that cold North Wales sea water. Anyways, but I never skip a chance of wetting my toes in sea water whenever I am near to it.

Llanfairfechan pebble beach 

Llanfairfechan-
One was pebble beach in llanfairfechan. I also caught a glimpse of jelly fish, and after that I was little skeptical of stepping in to the sea water. The beach has a lovely café where you can relax with cup a coffee or have different flavors of ice creams as well. They have a fantastic menu as well in case you want to grab a quick lunch. 


The corner of that café was very peaceful. As this is a small town, all cafés close early as well. There was no rush to do things. It was a leisurely paced day for us at the beach.
We have spent 5-6 days in a rental and where every night, I used to cook meal after our days out. The coziness of the rental felt home to me as well. Even though, I didn’t have my spice box or our daily pantry, but churning out simple soul food was very satisfying for me. 
Even a simple ‘khichdi’ was delicious, uplifting and satisfying to the soul, which we used to have amidst our banters.

Portmeirion Village- inside

Portmeirion
Small Italian replica village was well worth a visit in Minffordd. The interiors of this place resemble like an Italian village with good eating places and cafes. 


A day should be spent over here.There is a hotel as well, in case you need to spend a night. The days are busy over there, as hordes of tourist visit this place, all across the globe. 


Once those tourist buses depart in evenings, you can spend some quiet time over there. As we were visiting during summer holidays, it was very busy and a bustling place.

Portmeirion -Wales

Isle of Anglesey, Holyhead-
Beautiful and peaceful that comes to my mind when I want to write about Holyhead.Isle of Anglesey is a small island connected to mainland through two bridges. Minai Strait runs in between the island and mainland Wales. 
Anglesey is considered an area of outstanding natural beauty with its rugged coastlines, beautiful beaches, towering cliffs and vibrant flora and fauna.South Stack Lighthouse is well worth a stop.

South Stack Lighthouse-Holyhead

We spend a day in the island exploring Holyhead and Lladdwyn beach in Newborogh. 
Holyhead is famous for the south stack lighthouse. The rugged coastlines and vastness of sea was very magnificent. During peak nestling times, Puffins come here and set their nests in May. We were little late though as in August they all fly back to their respective homes. Puffins are endangered species now.
Lladdwyn beach 

Lladdwyn-
The beach with its beautiful sand dunes and landscapes is considered a very lovely place to spend a day with loads of activities- from wind surfing, kite flying to pebble stacking etc. The area is well conserved and has a very minimal toll to enter, but I guess it’s required to maintain the surrounding and its landscape.There are two mini food vans in the premise, in case you want to grab a quick tea/coffee or some snacks. We loved the Victoria sponge cake and hot chocolate also.

Caernarfon Castle-inside

Caernarfon-
A fantastic port town with a historical castle. The ruins in castle depicts a story from a bygone era. It is here that Prince Charles had his investiture in 1969.The site is now listed in UNESCO world heritage site. 

We spent half of our day in exploring this castle and its various tunnels. The castle has a unique feature with polygonal towers.


 It’s a small town with limited eateries and café. But well worth a visit is a lovely Fish and Chip shop, whose owners have a friendly approach.

Caernarfon Street

They make the fish right in front of you. We ordered Cod with chips, which was delicious. Once in a while fish and chips should be eaten. Let me tell the name of the shop in case you want to have fish and chips-’’ Ainsworth Fish and Chips’’. We also bought some souvenirs as well. Dear daughter bought few for her friends as well. 


I like this coaster and this love spoon a lot. Celtic love spoon is a very memorable gift for someone you love. These fine hand-crafted wooden spoons are very poignant. 

Celtic Lovespoon

The giving and receiving Celtic love spoon between lovers, family and friends is a very old Welsh tradition from 17th century. Young men usually carve these spoons from one piece of wood with symbols such as hearts, Celtic knotwork, bells and horseshoe to give away as everlasting gifts.

Aber falls, Abergwyngregyn-
Aber falls is a fantastic place for a wonderful day out. The walk towards falls is very manageable and passes through significant natural beauty. 

Aber Falls Walk - starting point

There are many points where you can stop and look afar and take pictures. 


The epitome of this walk is the fall itself, which never disappoints. The falls after a rainy spell looks even more beautiful. The only problem is car parking.


Aber Falls

If you can get a fine spot, you are all set to explore this beautiful place.

There were times, when we just did picnic with home packed lunches and lost account of our time. 



And that is how holidays should be-no timetable and no rushing through.
Wales as usual, always give beautiful surprises and is worth a visit. There are still many quaint towns and places we haven’t ventured out, someday those will be visited as well.

You have a great weekend ahead.Wishing every one Shobho Mahalaya in advance.Enjoy and celebrate.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Peach Upside Down Cake



We are embracing colder mornings and evenings last couple of days now, paving up its way for autumn season here. While, I do appreciate every season, as each has its own charm. Autumn is somewhat more colorful and enticing. I got a peek into nature’s cycle with few colorful leaves fallen on my walking trails. I tried to capture with my mobile phone and this is what I got.


 I have completely stopped using DSLR these days and all these food pics that you all keep seeing here are mobile phone camera captures. May be, I am losing the habit of carrying or using DSLR camera these days. I may like to think the quality is passable, as I don’t rely on heavy use of editing software.
 This kills the natural tones and color of that particular shots. 


Although, I can’t imagine completely shunning the use of DSLR cameras, but as of now it’s me, my mobile and my solitudes, that works fine for me.




I want to squeeze in every bit of whatever golden summer days are left over here. I have been buying peaches a lot these days and was thinking of making a cake with them. This cake turned out dense with a nice sweet peachy layer on top-absolutely scrumptious. I have used whole wheat flour with plain flour and am planning to make next batch with whole wheat flour completely. That will make the cake even more dense with a nice textured fruity and peachy cake.


Here is the recipe for peach upside down cake
Peach Upside Down Cake
Recipe requirements
  • 3-4 peaches
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 and half tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp of baking soda
  • ¾ cup of caster sugar
  • 3-4 tbs of yogurt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup spreadable butter
  • 3-4 tbs of light muscovado sugar
  • 2-3 pinches of salt



Method
  • Take out spreadable butter, egg and yogurt and let it all come to the room temperature.
  • Peel the skin and destone peaches and slice them neatly.
  • Sift flour and add in baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a big mixing bowl, cream together spreadable butter and castor sugar. Add in vanilla essence.
  • Add in 1 egg at a time, mixing very well. Add in yogurt.
  • Now mix this wet mixture with the dry mixture and make a smooth cake batter.
  • Preheat oven at 175 deg and prepare the cake tin. Spread some butter on the tin and then flour.
  • Arrange peach slices well over the sprinkled muscovado sugar.
  • Now pour in the cake batter and tap it gently.
  • Put the cake tin in preheated oven and bake it for 40-45 mints or till the middle of the cake comes out clean, when pricked with a toothpick or wooden skewer.
  • Take out and cool and flip the sides.Peach upside down cake is ready.Enjoy.



Happy Cooking Friends