Saturday, October 28, 2006


Trick or Treat with Sandesh
What will be your take , read on to know mine for this festival being celebrated in this part of world, the most attractive part being the children , seeing lovely smiling faces dressed in some colourful ways or may be scary sometimes , families coming together and celebrating things called joys of life ......

I wonder how humans have developed a keen interest in celebrating , celebrating the joys of life , celebrating colours and Light , I have found that both Halloween and our own Deepavali , are festival revolving around lights and the joys of children ,we Bengali’s celebrate Deepavali as Kali Puja …the legend says that to defeat the Demons Shumbha/Nisumbha, Maa kali came to rescue the world ,more story here
Kali-pooja-in-Bengaland another legend of Rama-return-to-ayodhya
and these are some of the interesting poems on Diwali ,I kept reading the first one and laughing a lot …Diwali-poems
It will be Halloween on Tuesday 31 October , and children will be coming with trick or treat Tradition, what attracts me more is them being dressed as fairies, monster , and batman to anything scary , scary but enjoyable scary haha …….

The legend says Halloween is being celebrated to mark the harvest festival and also its originated in Ireland ,Britain and northern Europe…more legend stories here
halloween history
So get ready for the Jack-o-Lantern, theme parties and getting together …
So guess , making homemade Sandesh will be fun also …this is a recipe I learned from my MIL and I am still in the learning process , she used to make it every morning to give as sweet Treat in her son’s lunch box .Sometimes making the Chana ( Cottage cheese) in the night for a quicky
in the morning ….so it was treat everyday .Being Bengali sandesh is such a favourable thing I can’t think anything else…
Without much adding to intro here is a simple recipe for Sandesh

3-4 cups of milk
sugar as per taste ,I added 4-5 tbs of sugar
2 tbs of mango syrup, for the colour and some light mango fragerance
1 lemon

Bring the pot with milk to a boil, meanwhile cut the lemon in halves , add the fresh juice from it to the milk (I will suggest not to use the lemon juice in plastic lemon available in vegeatble section , fresh lemon juice has been more effective than anything else, )
Let it curdle up , make Chana out of the milk, squeeze the excess liquid from Chana, set aside in a bowl.
Add sugar , mango syrup, and now the fun part ,with your hands ,blend the Chana and the sugar well , knead it properly ,so that chana becomes smooth, and sugar evenly distributed
Now heat a saucepan , and add the above chana mixture to it ,cook it at low stiring continously and sometimes putting the flame to medium ,when you feel its becoming bit low on temperature, the trick is to maintain a temperature in which the mixture don’t get burnt and you come out making sandesh with flying colours…My Mil says it like “ Chana ke Paak deva
Take the mixture out when you feel that the mixture has little bit dried and easily being released from the pan while stiring, the constitency will be little bit dried but not grainy , take it out and immediately roll into small balls and shape them in whatever way you feel look beautiful …cool, serve and enjoy with your loved ones ..
I have found that while shaping the sandesh since the paak mixture is hot , if you slightly flour your hands then the sandesh is perfectly rolled into desirable shape and also it doesn’t hurt your hands.
I have used mango syrup for a flavour for mango sandesh , but rosewater, or saffron can be used to give different flavours to sandesh….

So wish everybody a Happy and scary Halloween …
This is also my entry to the to the VCC:VCCq3-2006 being hosted by Vkn of MyDhaba
Taking my days as it comes and enjoying the Fall here , hope everybody enjoying nature also.
Happy Halloween
I will be back with some more recipes next time ,till then Bon Appetite , Happy cooking .

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Alo Posto aar Amer Ambol ( Mango Chutney)

Its another day, a bright new day, sun is coming out nicely, with the Fall and its vigour, Nature is at its peak beauty...Pennsylvania is a beautiful Place to be, Being living in a small town is also a charm, for the first time I have seen coming to US these beautiful landscapes, country side charm, Buffaloes, Horses, and huge Corn fields...its has some of the most breathtaking sights...lush greenery... you have to be here to feel and see it ....
Its something special to feel also since this is festive time, was missing home and so thought of making something which reminds us of home and the festivities ...but should be quick and easy...Went running to shop got white poppy seeds from our local Indian grocery store and fresh ripe Mexican Mangoes from "Giant"...
Talking about Indian cuisine, I could not stop thinking about Bengali cuisine, as being Bengali its but natural, savoury sweets from Rasogolla, Sandesh and what not .
So many thoughts just pass by...went nostalgic about Howrah Brigde to Trams in Calcutta and the beautiful Victoria's buggy ride in the evenings in the MAIDAN Near Victoria Memorial.

Victoria Memorial
And here is some of the beautiful pictures of Durga Puja in Calcutta
Durga Puja - Matri Sangha Behala
Durga Puja Mitra Sangha Behala
Durga Puja Jodhpur Park Puja
Durga Puja Chalta Bagan Pandal
Durga Puja Salt Lake F D Block

ok after asmall journey to Kolkata, now back to food and recipes , there is a wonderful recipe in Ahaar about Sukto
the recipe is here ,It is a nice way to eat vegetables .You will like it .Some other delicacies are Tasty Macher jhaal (fish Curry ),and Posto (poppy seeds paste ) so, just thought of making our favorites , made Aloo Posto (Potatoes cooked in Poppy paste ) last Friday , posto can be used to make other vegetables also Jhinge posto ,and so on...without adding much intro to all , here is the simple recipe for Aloo Posto..

Potatoes cooked in white poppy seeds paste (Aloo Posto)
Servings is for 4
Potatoes 2-3 cut into long Jullienes , 1-2 bay leaf , White Poppy seeds 2-3 tbs, Some cashews 2-3 tbs ,
1 tsp of cumin seeds(better if you have "Panch Phoron" a dry spice mixture Fennel,cumin,fenugreek,Nigella seeds and Radhuni ,its substitute can be celery seeds but both are not same ) ,1 /2 tsp turmeric powder,2 tsp of red pepper powder (fresh Green chillies can also be used in place of red pepper powder ),salt as per taste , and some water and Canola oil 2 tbs .
Heat oil in saucepan at med , add cumin seeds , let it pop up ,add 1-2 bay leaves

Now add potato julliences and fry for another 5 mints stiring in between
add all the dry ingredients and salt to taste add little bit of water and cover , cook for 7-10 mints at low till potatoes are done but not soggy .

Meanwhile the potatoes are cooking , grind poppy seeds and cashews with pinch of salt in grinder with enough water to make it into a smooth paste (I have to add cashews as it helps rotate the grinder and also adds to the overall taste,but originally people in Bengal use this special grinder made of some stones to make a paste out of poppy seeds only for making Aloo Posto , with some Fresh green chillies)

When its done add the above paste to the potatoes cooking ,stir and cook for another 5 mints and then take it out .
Back in Bengal, poeple cook in Mustard oil ,that itself gives an instant kick to any dishes and its healthy also ..Its here that I have started using Canola Oil , which is also a heart healthy option ...
Aloo posto is better eaten with warm cooked rice , Mong Dal , and Ambol (a sweet/sour gravy thing with vegetables cooked in , or simple with Mango ) , every Bengali meal finishes with an Ambol.

Sweet and Sour Mango (Amer Ambol)
Its eaten as a last course, its another thing I always start my eating by sipping it first LOL that's me,generally it's the unripe mango which is used , but its some times when I dont have unripe mango in my Pantry (I haven't find yet in US) , I always use the semi ripe ones,this recipe is a wonderful treat for us when my mother -in -law makes it , same ingredients and same technique ,but I could not match the flavor,I guess It's the Love she puts in her, that makes it more tasty and enjoyable . She has also unique recipe for Ambol using Bhindi (Okhra), some fresh Kumro (pumpkin pieces) and tamarind pulp,thats another way to eat Ambol, when I visited my hubby's native Village , some of our relative made Ambol with Macher Dimer Bora (Fritters made of fish ) ,so you can see Ambol can be made in many ways. Amer Ambol being the simplest and quick.
1 ripe Mango cut into cubes with skin , 1 tbs Black mustard seeds ,1/4 tbs turmeric powder(I add it for yellow colour that gives a lively appearance) , 2-3 dry red chilly pepper ,canola oil for frying( it taste more flavorful with mustard oil) , 1/2 cup of sugar ,salt as per taste .
Heat oil in saucepan , add mustard seeds, and dry red pepper being torn in between add to the hot oil , let them pop up .
Now add mango chunks fry for 1-2 mints , add salt and sugar ,turmeric powder , 1 cup of water or depends on how thick constitency you want ,cover and cook at low for 7-10 mints .
Take out and let it cool ,serve ,eat and enjoy with your meals.

Poppy seeds and coriander/cilantro chutney (Posto Dhone Patta chutney)
2-3 tbs poppy seeds, 2-3 tbs cashews ,1 medium tomato,1 Jalapeno pepper, 1 medium onion,1 inch fresh ginger root, 2-3 cloves of garlic , bunch of coriander leaves or cilantro leaves ,1 tbs of canola or better if you have extra virgin olive oil(EVOO), salt as per taste.
Bring a pot with water to boil, add whole tomato to the hot water, cook for 5 mints till the skin is soft, take it out and peel the skin of tomato ,dice it into 4 equal parts.
Meanwhile the tomato is getting ready, peel and chop onion, garlic, ginger and separate cilantro/coriander leaves from the stem .
First make a paste of poppy seeds and cashews as stated in making in Aloo Posto .
Now add all the above ingredients in the above paste, salt, Jalapeno(add more if you want a fiery hot chutney) ,EVOO and last tomato in a blender ,blend it all well untill a smooth paste is formed .
Serving sugestion
Serve with some hot fritters (pakode) or as vegetarian sandwich spread .
We like it even on our warm cooked rice also.

some more recipes next time ,till then Bon Apetite ..
Enjoy your meals with your loved ones in cozy surroundings as its winter time .. Happy Cooking
I take the day as it comes , hope you too....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Namaskar and welcome !!
Its being so nice here to do something you feel passionate about that is cooking . And here I am now with my humble attempts to record my everyday cooking and daily recipes.I like cooking and seeing loved ones enjoy their meals is pleasure also .. and cooking is an art,being an Indian it comes as but natural.. ..I am not a fancy cook ,nor I have taken any classes, its just what I have learned from my Mother an after my  marriage from my Mother-in -Law. I am an everyday cook with simple and easy recipes , but some time I also add variations and love to try out new things ....for me I have loved doing a new type of cooking Fusion Cooking .

So ,you might be thinking what exactly is a Fusion cooking , its in my words east meet west , its incorporating two different culture into one to achieve peak of taste..its fusion of spices ,and the result is some great tasting meals ...I have used many times Italian seasoning in Indian curry,or sometime a Tex-Mex seasoning with a normal cauliflower/potato sabzi ..or using fresh herbs like Rosemary in chicken curry ,fried rice etc...
Today,I think I am going to start with Chicken and Mushroom Curry .I have tried making it with a new twist ...
I made it for lunch last Wednesday, I have used chicken drumsticks and thighs for this recipe ,but other chicken cut pieces can also be used , some fresh button mushrooms ,half a packet will be sufficient.Ok let me just write it without adding much intro ....

Spicy Chicken /mushroom curry


4 chicken drumsticks
1 large onion cut into pieces
4 cloves garlic cut into pieces
1 inch fresh ginger cut into thin pieces
1 tbs turmeric powder
1 tbs Indian red pepper powder
1 tbs salt or as desired
1 tbs corriander powder
½ tbs canola oil
½ tbs Italian seasoning
1-2 tbs of water
½ tbs cumin seeds
½ tbs mustard seeds
3-4 tbs fresh cut cilantro leaves
1 large potato cut into half.
½ tbs sugar
1 tbs black pepper powder .
2 tbs canola oil
1 cup of water /chicken broth
2 heaped tbs of sour cream
½ cup cut mushrooms
Marinade the chicken , add ½ turmeric powder, ½ red pepper powder, ½ corriander powder , ½ black pepper powder,salt , ½ tbs Italian seasoning , ½ tbs oil and 2 tbs of water ,mix well in a bowl , marinade the chicken for 1-2 hr in refrigerator .
Now heat oil in a saucepan , add cumin/mustard seeds ,let it pop up properly.
Add onions ,garlic , ginger , saute for 3-4 mints till it turns translusent .
Add rest of the dry ingredients ,then potatoes, fry it at med –low for 5-7 mints,
Add chicken drumsticks and fry for another 5 mints at med-low., add cilantro leaves.
Now add water and cover , let it simmer for another 30 mints .
At this point add mushrooms and let it simmer another 15 –20 mints.or till drumsticks are done.
At the end add sour cream and stir it well .
Serve with warm cooked basmati rice.

This is a sort of fusion cooking , I love the aroma of Italian seasoning so I always add that to my curries. I served it with with plain cooked rice,Fiki lassi (yogurt drink ) and some salads , tomatoes/onions/cucumbers cut into slices and added some lemon juice also .It tasted great and spicy with a mild hotness ,
Talking about lassi ,there are so many ways a lassi can be made mango lassi , sweet lassi our own Bengali favorite Mishti Doui ,and what not .. I just thought let me also write it about fiki lassi ,I know you all are familiar with it but there are some who will find it interesting ,a typical lassi made in Uttar Pradesh (where I have spent my wonderful growing years) ,in summer days people love to drink it , to cool off ......

Fiki Lassi (Yogurt Drink)
1 cup of plain yogurt
1 cup of water
1/2 tbs of salt
1/4 tbs of black pepper
1/4 inch of fresh ginger cut into small pieces
1-2 tbs of corriander leaves /cilantro leaves
1-2 icecubes
blend all in a blender and serve chilled ...
Its just plain home cooking for me , my first record of recipe ,I dont know if I will be able to appeal to you , but its anything you wish to ask me or write, about recipes here , you are always welcome here ...... ...

and talking about season , here in this part of US , there is some changes in color of leaves, a tinge of red ,yellow coming to them.If you feel ,just take out some time to be with nature this fall season.....I will be back again with some new recipes ,till then Bon Apetite...

I take the day as it comes , hope you too...Happy Cooking Friends