Monday, July 28, 2008

Jhinge Chingri (Shrimp Ridge Gourd Curry )

I was watching a show on Discovery Channel, couldn’t recall the name , but I was fascinated by the content, it was a short peek into the lives of Fishermen .Fishermen has this unique way of living , Sea is their ultimate God and they worship it also , and whatever they earn is thro sea and its blessings, for they have to Travel deep into sea and stay there catch their preys(Fish) and come back .This whole operation is stretched for 10-15 days and sometimes even months. They load their ships with food and sail Thro Sea, singing and making noise, ready to take on mighty sea .I sometimes really wonder how their family think and live when they are gone to deep sea. Do they have to live in constant fear of losing their dear ones ,as there are sometimes reportedly massive cyclones ,storms or is it their never dying spirit and attitude which help them to take on the challenges of life .
This is a snap taken of River Hooghly which provides livelihood to many Fishermen.

As I prepare this Jhinge Chingri , I am Thanking that unknown person who might have caught these with such hard work and dedication and to all those fishermen who find their livelihood by catching fish , for their effort at this level needs whole lot of appreciation .
From the western coast of India, central part of Konkan Coast and southern part of Malabar Coast along Arabian sea to Eastern Coast of India, Bay Of Bengal and Orissa .These people are every where .So next time You go to your local fish Market , You know what to say, to that unknown Fisherman , start by just asking his or her name , and you will see thousand watt of smile.
Sometimes small things give immense joy.
The rough skin is peeled off from Ridge gourd and the soft inner vegetable is eaten in this curry .Jhinge Chingri is prepared with red pepper powder and turmeric , the spiciness of curry is enhanced by the spicy Shrimp Stir/fry that is added at the time when the ridge gourd is cooked .When amalgamated this turn out to be tongue tickler with warm cooked rice .

Jhinge Chingri (Ridge Gourd Shrimp spicy curry)
Jhinge 3-4 cut into long pieces (after peeling the green skin, you get soft fruit, cut approx 1 inch long piece)
Potato 2 medium size cut into long pieces (cut proportionate to Jhinge or ridge gourd pieces)
1 tsp of salt
1tsp of turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp of red pepper powder
Half tomato chopped finely
2-3 tbs of mustard oil
To the Shrimp
Clean the fish, remove the head and tail, and slit the back of shrimp, take out the purple color vein and, de shell it, do the same with other shrimps. Frozen Packets can also be used as they are already cleaned.
Marinate the shrimp with turmeric powder and salt, fry them in hot mustard oil, till they change color to pink.

Follow this recipe link for preparing Chingri Macher Jhaal .
Temper the hot mustard oil with cumin seeds, add bay leaf and potato pieces , fry at med high for 2 mints , now add salt, turmeric, red pepper powder and fry for another 2mints, add Jhinge and fry for 5 mints, till the potatoes and jhinge coats well with the spices, it will take another 3-4 mints .Now add Little bit of water and release the fried shrimp to it.
Add chopped tomato pieces also .
Cover and cook for 5 -7 mints at med , or till the potatoes are cooked evenly. Serve with rice .

This Curry is now off to Srivalli at Cooking For All Seasons for Curry Mela -Event .

Happy Cooking Friends .

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tea and My comfort zone

Tea or Camillia sinensis is considered to be a refreshing drink.
The degree of processing the leaves determines the quality of tea.
Green tea is less processed. Black and red tea is partially crushed; dried and fermented .The length of fermentation determines the color on leaves will be black or red.
Tea has cancer fighting properties, as it has polyphenols which acts as antioxidants.
More about here tea Benefits dotcom.
While I start my day with a cup of tea in early morning, I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on my life.
Ginger tea is another tea with medicinal value which we like to drink .This tea gives an instant relief to cold and cough. Sprinkle some black pepper powder when ready to drink, soothes the throat and clears the mucous also.
Ginger tea
Serves for 1 people
1 tsp of tea (while we use mixed, some green leaves and black)
½ tsp of ginger paste (use fresh ginger instead of processed)
¼ cup of hot milk
¾ cup of water
½ tsp of sugar
Boil the milk first, keep aside, meanwhile in a separate vessel heat up ginger paste and water, add sugar and tea, stop the flame take out in another vessel and cover it.
Now Filter the tea and add hot milk to it .

Enjoy with reading your Favorite Book.

This is my comfort zone where I relax and enjoy my time with a cup of tea.
This is also going to Jugalbandi Due for Click-July Coffee and Tea , visit here for more details . Click -Coffee and Tea .
Happy Cooking Friends and Always Enjoy Your comfort zone .

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Note Shak'er Chorchori

This is a simple recipe for chorchori(medley of vegetables) with note shaag, this shag is also prepared with posto bata (poppy seed paste), sometimes it is also made with macher moro(fish head) and macher tel(Fish fat),a simple stir-fry with roasted peanuts , chopped onions and Kalo jeere (Nigella seeds) tastes too good accompanied with rotis , recipe link for Shaag Bhaja ( Stir-Fry Green Leaves)
This is authentic Bengali recipe for note shag, prepared with vegetables like bitter gourd(Korola),sweet potato(ranga Aloo) , pumpkin(Kumro) and potato(Aloo) .One interesting ingredient which my MIL asked me to add this time is, dried jackfruit seeds(Katalher Biji), when cooked this gives a very nutty flavor.
There is mild flavor of bitterness due to addition of bitter gourd, that’s why this is eaten as a starter in authentic Bengali Meal .Its always said you start your eating with Teto (Bitter) and end the meal with mishti(sweet).Chorchori is what ,you start with your meal .

Note Shaager Chorchori

Note shaag 1 bunch with fresh leaves
1 potato chopped into lengthwise
Kumro or pumkin pieces
1 Bitter gourd cut into small pieces
Ranga aloo half cut into lengthwise
Dried Jack fruit seeds chopped and made into four quarters
½ tsp of salt
1 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of sugar
3 tbs of oil

MethodMarinate the bitter gourd pieces with salt and turmeric powder, fry them first and fry them to deep brown. TIP-Frying them reduces the bitterness from them .
Now take out in a separate vessel, add oil, temper it with panch phoron, Bay leaf .
Add chopped vegetables to it TIP- Its better to chop vegetables in equal length as it helps the chorchori to cook evenly , one thing which is important in preparing chorchori is the way how you cut your vegetables ., potato,kumro,ranga alo, kathaal er Biji , add salt(TIP- always add less salt , that much which is required to cook vegetables only) and fry them for 2 mints, now add turmeric powder, red pepper powder, coriander powder and fry them for 5 mints .
Add little bit of water like jol chora deva and bitter gourd pieces , cover and cook the vegetable for 5-7 mints.
Meanwhile clean the note leaves and discard the leaves which are worn out .Now break the twigs and leaves , wash it thoroughly for 2-3 times in water to discard any soil particles from it or use the sieve for this purpose .If you think leaves need to be chopped do so , while we like eating it in chorchori the other way without chopping and just breaking the leaves and twigs with hands TIP- this gives the fiber element to the dish .
Add green leaves and sugar to the cooked vegetables and korola or bitter gourd , just sauté them for a while till the leaves are reduced in volume .Cover again and cook for 2-3 mints , stir fry, mash them with spatula gently and take out and serve with garam Bhaat .

Chorchori , a traditional dish in Bengali Cuisine , (Visit here for more details on Bengali Cuisine ) an excellent recipe for health conscious people as its low calorie food,Provides essential nourishment to the body .
The bitter gourd is good for many stomach ailments and Diabetes, Green leafy vegetable Amaranth is a good source of Vitamins and minerals. This leafy vegetable provide all the health benefit requirements, including dietary minerals like calcium, iron and Manganese .More health Benefits, know from Here and Amaranth in Wiki .

This Chorchori recipe ,I would like to send it across to Manasi , as she is hosting a wonderful event, Healthy Cooking event for a good cause of Eat well and Live well .Visit her here for more details .Healthy Cooking Event .

Happy Cooking Friends .

Friday, July 11, 2008

Soya Rice and Memories of Pennsylvania

Rice plays and important part in our meals, at times I don’t feel like eating plain cooked rice .For variations I have always tried making rice with different ingredients or the ingredients that are currently in my pantry .We like eating Soya chunks and what could be a better way than to include them in our cooked rice .Here is a simple recipe for soya rice, rice being cooked with Soya sauce and Soya chunks . I would think that its greatly influenced by Chinese Cuisine as I have used soya sauce for this rice preparation, Although the spices being used other than Soya sauce are Indian , So its sort of Fusion of Indo- Chinese Cuisine and I am sending this to DK at Culinary Bazaar for the on-going AWED-Chinese .

Soya Rice

4 cups of cooked rice ( I used seddu Chaal (Boiled rice) for this purpose, I guess basmati or Sona masoori rice can be used also , just soak them in water for half an hour before cooking it . )
1 onion chopped finely
1 tsp of ginger
4 tsp of soya sauce
½ tsp of red Pepper powder (add more for hotness)
1tsp of salt
Nutrela Soya Chunks 1 -2 cup (prepared according to Package direction or soak them in warm water for 10- 15 mints, drain and its ready to eat )
1 carrots chopped 1 inch long pieces
some cashews
2-3 eggs , depending upon people you are serving (optional)
3-4 tbs of refined oil or canola oil for frying
Heat up oil, add Bay leaf, chopped onions, carrots and cashews and fry at med for 3 -4 mints.
Now add Soya chunks, Soya sauce, red pepper powder and salt .Fry at high for 5mints continuously stiring till the ingredients gets a coated evenly with the spices and sauce.
Lower the flame and and add cooked rice, fry them at med now for 2-3 mints and coat the rice with the prepared gravy .Take out in a bowl.
In a separate vessel fry the eggs. Serve them over cooked rice.
This is surely a great way to eat rice . Good for Toddlers and adult as well .


We lived in Lancaster PA , one of the oldest city in US , about 71 miles from Philadelphia, easily connected via Amtrak and its very economic also visit here for more city attraction Main City attractions . And this county is famous for their Amish people and their enriched culture.
Amish People are nature loving simple and God –fearing people, mainly doing farming for their livelihood. They are the descendants of Germans, who settled in here when they first came in 1709 .They still use their old, Horse pulled carts or Buggy. And seeing them in the city sometimes was a pleasure. You can feel the tip-tap of horse legs, while they breeze past off your slow moving car .This make me think sometimes less complicated things give you immense pleasure and look at the relationship they develop with their horse , can we strike the same response with the metal build car or truck or for that matter anything metal , Perhaps no. Such is one drawback of modernization also. But, people at Amish County are still living with their preserved nature and life for them is hard work to get their Bread and Butter, for them there is no short-cuts .These people belong to hard working community, living life as simple as it can be . More Info here .

Susquehanna river More info here, is a longest river along the East coast of US.The banks are good for morning walks and the old bridge over it says a lot about it’s importance .This Bridge Connects the York county and Lancaster county,while Driving you may come across a subtle downtown of York county as well and the country side as well.
Children will love the Strasburg Railroad on Route 741, the engine still runs on steam, kind of the engines you saw in the Film “ Parineeta” and you can hear the familiar whistle of the engine while traveling in it also. A joy for children and adults as well. This joyride was a delight for us and we remembered our childhood days when we would go to our Grandmother’s place by trains, which were used to run on steam as well.
The Park City Mall in Lancaster is a huge shopping mall with all the branded houses and the food court is well serviced and from Chinese to Italian cuisine, there are wide range of meals one can choose. The Pretzel Corner is a huge hit with mass. We specifically would love the Garlic and cinnamon sugar-coated Pretzels. We would hang out a whole lot of time there, sometimes window shopping even.
And if you do visit Lancaster with family and kids, don’t forget to go to Dutch wonderland, a place where kids will have a wonderful time and adults will relive their childhood again.

Now to my Pennsylvania Memories, these are my cherished pictures, I am going to share with you, hope you enjoy seeing it as much I enjoyed, while taking them.

Cattle grazing in a near by Amish Home .

A typical Amish Home with all its natural surrounding, look at the gorgeous windmill.

Such a beautiful landscape, greenery, natures Beauty at its peek.

This used to be the view from our apartment house which was luckily on first floor .

On a sweet note dear Uma at Teluguruchi has Passed me with this award of friendship, thanks a lot Uma .

Happy Cooking Friends .

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Down The Memory Lane-Neem Begun and Kundro Bhaja

There are times when you recollect your memories , and down the memory lane you think about some of your lost hobbies , things that gave you immense pleasure ,one thing that kept me going was listening to songs by Abba , I simply don’t know when and how I got hooked to this beautiful group, I was not even born when they were singing their hit numbers .Abba for me was kind of a revolution and I would often spent hours listening to the cassette I fondly purchased from my pocket money savings. My Parents possibly wont connect to this group, for them it was there favorite Bengali songs or Hindi film songs, although My father would encourage me to listen to some instrumental pieces like Ventures and all 70’s group that includes “Come September” and “Dance with the Devil” , but I was more keen on listening to songs by Abba .What fascinates me was there simple words but deep meaning , often indicating and making statements against many on going political and socio- economic situations also .Dancing queen made me feel like queen and ready to explore the world , the world that was still not known to me , I was ready to go that extra mile .Four Swedish people Agnetha, Frida, Benny and Bjorn made histories with their platinum jubilee albums and the world sang with them , Such was the magic of this group. Well all said and now I wind up my short story .Time for me let you know the recipes .

These are some of the unusual recipes that I am posting today , one is neem begun which is neem leaves and eggplant dry fry .This is a starter in every lunch menu as Bengalis love to start their meals with Teto( Bitter), neem begun is good in case of hot summer as it acts as a fine antidotes to many diseases. Every part of neem tree is useful,the leaves, trunk ,and fruit. Neem as such is very useful , more information Here and Here .

Neem Begun
Neem leaves 3-4 (very tender and young leaves)
1 Brinjal cut into small cubes
1 tsp of turmeric powder
½ tsp of salt
2 tbs of mustard oil
Wash and clean neem leaves, cut the brinjal and marinate with turmeric powder and salt , set aside for 5 mints
Now first fry the brinjal pieces in hot mustard oil and at low for 5mints, till they are brown. Take out in a bowl
Now fry the neem leaves at low for mints ,till they are brown ,don’t burn them as it would end up making them more bitter .
Mix and Mash the Fried Brinjal and Neem Leaves , serve with warm Rice .
there is another version at Sutapas Web Page Here .

Kundru Bhaja (Fry)
Ivy Gourd or Coccinia grandis or Tindora or Dondakaya in Telegu or Kovakkai in Tamil or kovaka in Keralaand Tondekai in Kannada as Asha Told me , More info here vegetable is good for many ailments including heart diseases and Diabetes . .Kundro is fondly eaten in eastern Part of UP also This is a simple recipe for dry fry , Kundro is fried with less spices and is served with rotis I have eaten this fondly at mom’s place and from then on , I have tried to include more this to our normal meals .

20 Kundro – cut in between
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1tsp of salt
1 tsp of Panch Phoron
2 tbs of mustard oil
Wash and clean kundro and cut them, now marinate them in turmeric and salt.
Heat up mustard oil and add panch Phoron, Now add kundro and fry them at med for 5mints, add red pepper Powder,salt and little bit of water , cover and cook for 5-7mints till the vegetable is still crunchy. Enjoy with Rotis and rice .

Happy Cooking Friends .

Friday, July 4, 2008

Childhood Fantasy - Almond Mango Kulfi

Kulfi reminds me of my Childhood days, when we used to have it every summer season in our outings or picnics. Kulfi remains a hot Favorite with people living in UP, and I am no exception as my childhood is spent in Allahabad, I remember, It would be served over earthen vessels with faluda and our neighborhood Kulfiwalla would come with his cycles or Tellah ( a hand Pulled Cart) and a large earthen vessels where he would insert his hand and take out Kulfi moulds and serve us., Gone are the those Carefree days , an innocent indulgence and childhood fantasies .These days we go to Haldiram to have our kulfis , My Hubby and Little one like eating it a lot .So, thought of making it in home , It took me three attempts to please their taste buds , so I worked constantly to satisfy their taste buds , Kena Moton hoye ni is what I would have to listen every time I made this , I took it as a challemge and here I am with this recipe .Kulfi making is a little bit time consuming job, one thing which is important is reducing the milk to Half or making the milk thicken , this is the basic thing that should be kept in mind .I have tried adding Corn flour to the Milk to get even thickened milk , but the result was not satisfactory to both my expert kulfi tasters , however this time I added condensed milk and wow! It worked great. I have added mango pulp and fine pieces of almonds to give a distinct flavor , the aroma of mango and the crunchiness of almonds make this Kulfi very intriguing .
This turn out a hit with my Family .They gave this recipe a 4 star verdict ,even my little one kept asking me to give her more , a great satisfaction for a mother of picky eater .
Almond Mango Kulfi

3-4 cups of milk
1cup of Cream
1 ½ cup of condensed milk
1 cardamom
1 Mango, peeled stone removed and made into pulp in mixer
1 -2 tbs of sugar
10-12 almonds
Bring the milk, cardamom and cream mixture to boil , now quickly lower the flame and cook until the milk is reduced to half , stiring in between .It would take about 15 mints or so .
Add condensed milk, At the time of adding condensed milk lower the flame and let the mixture thicken a little more.At this point check the sweetness,TIP- since the condensed milk is sweet , there is no need to add further sugar , However if you do feel sweetness is less add 2 tbs of sugar, I have added that much of sugar and it worked fine for me. take out and cool the milk mixture.
Now pound the almonds, this is very interesting , Take a news papper , place some almonds in between and fold the paper, now with the help of Rolling Pin(Belna) , crush the almonds, I simply love doing it as there is no need to ground almonds in mixer.
Add crushed pieces of almonds to it and also the mango pulp. Do this step when milk is cooled.
Shift them in Kulfi moulds and freeze .It will take 8-9 hrs for proper Kulfi setting, I got liitle impatient and took out the kulfi when it was not set properly.That was like Pic second kind of Melting Moments LOL.
Be Patient and its better to eat them the next day. TIP-When serving just dip them in hot water. It helps easy slide to the serving Plate. Serve them with Mango chunks.
This Kulfi remains fresh for 4-5 Days provided stored in deep fridge .
This is going to Meeta at Whats For Lunch Honey and the details for event here
Monthly Mingle -Mango Mania .
Happy Cooking Friends .