Thursday, October 29, 2009

Turning 3 with Granola Ladoo,Dodh Peda and Chanar Pantua

Last time I had mentioned about the Diwali goodies, so when Spice and Curry turn 3 this october, I thought this is perhaps the right time to post all the sweet dishes .Yeah, I know time flies and it was a wonderful journey so far.I would like to take this oppurtunity to thank everybody who have stopped here inspite of their busy schedule,subscribed to feeds and tried recipes from here.A big “Thank You” to all.

Now to the recipes.
I was thinking to add some variation to a mundane breakfast , and started mixing oat based granola, corn flakes ,then in zap of a second ,thought of making laddos instead of breakfast cereal.How ever this mixture can very well be stored in air tight container and can be made to a perfect breakfast cereal with milk.

A) Granola Laddo /Granola Diye Narkol’er Laddo
Measurements are approx
What you need
Granola preferably oat based -1 cup or you may use Clusters By Kellogg's.
Corn flakes- ½ cup
Chopped walnuts and cashews- ½ cup
Dessicated coconut-3/4 cup
Sugar- ½ cup or as per taste

Mix all the ingredients corn flakes,granola,dessicated coconut, cahsews and walnuts with hands well.If possible, slightly break the corn flakes and granola with little hand pressure to form a uniform mixture.Add in sugar also and gently mix in with the above mixture.
Now heat up a saucepan, transfer the entire mixture to it, stir it well at low for 5 mints
At this time you will see,sugar starts to dissolve and the mixture turning into a nice brown colour.
Sprinkle some water while stirring ,keep sprinkling some more water and stirring.Usually this takes very few mints when stirred at med-high , the main thing to keep in mind ,is not to burn the mixture.However if you have time and you don’t want to take much risk, do this at low flame and slowly.
When you see the mixture starts to gather together, immediately stop the flame and transfer the entire mixture content to a plate.
Heat up some 3-5 tbs of butter or ghee, add to the above mixture.
After the mixture is cooled a little bit, grease your palm with little oil and start making some small round shaped laddos.
Make all the laddos with the mixture.
Refrigerate the laddos,it stays fresh for 3-4 days.You may have it as Breakfast laddos also.

B) Microwable Dodh Peda

What you will need
1 cup of milk powder
¾ can of condensed milk
2 tbs of butter

In a microwave safe bowl,melt butter in microwave.Microwave for 1 mint at high.
Now mix in the milk powder and condensed milk very well with the melted butter.
Microwave the content at high for 1 mint
Take out and stir it well.
Repeat the step for 5 -6 times keeping an eye on the content(sometimes it may spill out,just keep looking)
You will see the mixture starts to dry up , and when the mixture starts to collect, stop microwaving.
My microwave took exactly 6 mints for it.It may be 1 mint less or more depending on the make of microwave you have.
Now let the content cool , and now the fun part ,grease your palms with oil and roll the mixture to peda shape.

I think this is the most easy-peezy method of preparing peda, and I have made the longer process of it also.Taste wise the longer method of drying up milk and then adding sugar gives excellent result,but this one is sure a good way to make the peda’s quickly, specially if you don’t want to sweat it out in kitchen.

For Sandesh recipe , you may want look in -------Here

For Mishti Nimki, go ------Here ,the only difference this time I made is , I coated the Fried diamonds/nimki with sugar well and stirred them at low in a saucepan.This added a nice touch of brown colour to the otherwise white form of sweet diamonds and also they turned out much more crunchy.

C) Chanar Pantua
Measurements are Approx
What You will need
Home –made paneer/cottage cheese 1 cup
Little bit of arrowroot/plain flour -2-3 tsp
Little bit of kheer/khoya(Khoya in Bengali is known as Kheer) -1/4 cup
Pinch of baking soda
1 big cardamom (Boro elaich)
1 cup of sugar
½ cup of water
Oil for deep frying
Make the sugar syrup by dissolving the sugar and water in a suacepan and cooking at low till a nice syrup is formed.
Sqeeze in well the paneer, make sure to take out the water.You may refer to this post to make home-made paneer---- Cottage Cheese Pudding
Use your kitchen towel to wrap the cheese and use your hands to squeeze them well.Take out in a plate.
Now add in little bit of flour(that I had,however you may use arrowroot),khoya/kheer, and now roll into small rounds, slipping one big cardamom seed into each rounds working with your fingers.TIP-You may also add in slight sugar crystals also,this way the juice is trapped inside well while the pantuas turn soft.
I have always felt that if rounds are made to sit up for sometime ,before frying they turn out nice brown in colour and absorbs the sugar syrup well.
Now,Heat up a saucepan , add oil .let the oil heat up well
Now fry all the small rounds well till they turn a nice brown in colour.
Drop them into the sugar syrup.Let them sit there for 1-2 hrs.Before serving slightly reheat them and serve.

Usually we don’t go out in parks much, but this time my daughter insisted on going to a park nearby.She is having her week long autumn break here.
This time round London parks are a great way to see autumn beauty.I am leaving with you some of the pics I tried to capture, and it just gets so tempting to catch one and all.
However the real depth of beauty needs to be experienced by visiting one of these parks.

Hope you enjoyed seeing these picture as much as I enjoyed capturing them in my camera.
Happy Cooking Friends.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beet Rice Pulao

Yellow,mellow ripened days
Sheltered in a golden coating
O’er the dreaming ,lightless haze,
White and dainty cloudlets floating
Winking at the blushing trees,
And the sombre,furrowed fallow;
Smiling at the airy ease
Of the southward flying swallow;
Sweet and smiling are thy ways
Beauteous ,golden Autumn days.
----------Will Carleton

While coming back to home , me and my daughter picked this leaf.I guess this is maple or may be tulip, anyone out there please clear my doubt….

Looks like I am addicted to Beetroot.First it was Beet Soya Subzi then Vegetable Cutlets ,then Beet Shake'er Chorchori and now Beet rice pulao.But trust me ,this has helped me a lot to bring out changes in our menu.I mean one pot meal are always easy to fix and great to eat.And when one picky eater also starts enjoying the dish ,then sure it’s a keeper recipe.Look at the dazzling colour it imparts to the mundane pulao.Tinge of red –orange reminds me about the fall season here.So a simple recipe to go with the season of fall.Presenting to you Beet Rice Pulao.

Beet Rice Pulao
Serves -3-4
1large cup of basmati rice
1 beet chopped finely
Vegetables of yor choice,I have used following
¼ cup of chopped mushroom
¼ cup of green peas
¼ cup of carrots chopped finely
¼ cup of beans chopped finely
3-4 cloves-long
2 cardamoms
1 inch cinnamon stick
Some cashews
½ tsp of red pepper powder
½ tsp of garam masala
3-4 tbs of cooking oil
1 tbs of sugar
Salt as per taste
Cook the rice.
When still hot add in 1-2 tbs of butter and gently mix in.
In a separate pan, add oil, temper it with cloves,cardamom,cinnamon stick and cashews
Add in all the chopped vegetables, add in salt,sugar and red pepper powder and garam masala.
Stir fry the vegetables for few mintues,make sure they remain crunchy.
Transfer the cooked vegetables in to the rice ,making a layer of cooked rice and then cooked vegetables
When all the vegetables are used ,then cover the pot tight.
TIP-Serve with hard boiled eggs and spicy shrimp fry as sides.Vegetarian can have spicy stir/fry paneer tikka or tofu fry.

There are many good blogs which I like to read.From now on ,I will try to write about them and providing links for you .
This week I have two wonderful blogs to talk about -

a) Sudeshna’s Cook Like A Bong( http://bengalicuisine.net/ ) needs no introduction , as a home cook she has come up with her nice collection of Bengali recipes.If you want to know more about Bengali culture and cuisine then this is a good stop for you.

b) Another great blog by a stunning artist is Dithi's Deezden(http://deezden.blogspot.com/) .Her breath-taking creations makes me speechless sometimes.If you are into arts and crafts ,then this is a great place to hang in.
Watch out for more interesting links in coming weeks.

These are some of the goodies I made for deepavali, I will be sharing the recipes in coming weeks soon.

So, keep cooking good food and Happy Cooking

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Honey Cake and Happy Deepawali

We look forward to every weekend now.Monday being the first working day seems fine for us as the freshness is still there just like fresh dews on green grass .By the time it’s Wednesday ,it seems one whole universe has passed and you are still standing in there,and on Friday it seems the day has no morning ,I mean you feel so worn out to get out of bed and then stop the alarm clock shrieking at you.It seems, even the poor alarm clock needs battery replacement.
But how should we replace our worn out /tired souls.Probably we cant as God has given each one a single soul for a lifetime.This soul is caged inside body,which gets tired by the usual ups and downs of our life.Once taken ,you need to nourish this soul,keeping in mind that body also needs replenishment.
Somewhere I read “Beauty is a thing for Joy”…..so when I started searching/looking for beauty or rather joy….I found there are many beautiful things .A fully blossmed flower, a laughing baby , snow clad mountains,ocean blue sea …wait What a Sea….hmmm….Ok then How about a Sea Aquarium.Viola!!
We went to sea aquarium near Thames River on last Saturday.This place is a magnificent way to relax and replenish your mind and soul.When we came back , our body was aching but the soul was refreshed n replenished ,ready to take on another working week.
And now , how about Honey cake and some sweets for the aching body ...Will they make you happy.

To be honest I haven't baked for almost 3 years now….so you can say it’s a comeback recipe.This recipe is adapted from my fav site .....… Here
Now the frosting is very easy, it’s the ready to roll one …as my little one was eager to put up the frosting so I asked her to whisk in some and apply all over it.She then insisted on having chocolate , so I finished it up with chocolate buttons on top.Happy to see the result, little one asked me to put up in my blog.
Seriously this cake is worth trying and it’s even good without frosting as told to me by hubby dear(he doesn’t like any frosting , too much of calories!!)
Now time to take out chairs and sit in a cosy environment and replenish your body and soul.With a good book in one hand and in other a slice of cake with a cup of coffee, what more you can ask for?

Honey cake
½ cup of white sugar (powdered)
½ cup of honey
¼ cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp of grated orange zest
½ cup of orange juice
1-1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp of baking powder
¼ tsp of baking soda
¼ tsp of salt
½ tsp of ground cinnamon

Preheat oven at 175 deg C .
Now sieve in flour,add in baking powder, baking soda,salt and cinnamon powder
Now in a bowl,first mix in sugar and oil very well, add in honey slowly mixing all the way.
Add in egg one by one and keep mixing.
Now beat in flour altenately with ornage juice to the above sugar/honey/egg mixture,repeat this till all the juice and flour mixture is used up.
Prepare the cake pan ,I used a round 9 inch cake tin,TIP- this can also be made in 13*9 cake pan, for that just double the content.
Bake at 175 deg C for 40 mints,it may even take little less than 40 mints,depending on the baking oven you have.
I made it even without any orange zest, but if you are short of it you may consider adding lemon zest in place of orange zest.
You may drizzle some honey over the cake when it’s still hot, it will soon dry up making a,thin translucent crust sort.
You may use garam masala powder if you are short of cinnamon powder.
You may have it with warm cooked custard if you wish to.
Frosting as above is absolutely not necessay.The Cake is moist and very light by itself ,in fact it can be well paired with a cup of coffee.
I would even suggest you have it with vanilla flavoured ice-cream.

Below are some of the pics of sea aquarium.They were being mischievous with me so the pics are little shaky there.

and then it was sunset at river Thames........

This weekend it’s festival of light , so probably we will be staying at home, lighting diyas and candles minus the firecrackers.Hope you also enjoy with your loved ones ,sharing and making all the goodies.
If you want the recipe for the sweet then go ........Here

Wishing everybody a joyous and prosperous Deepawali.
Happy Diwali

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Duporer Khabar- Pomfret Fish Curry

On this particular october morning,the view from my living room window is splendid.After a spell of gloomy rainy days ,its feels so wonderful to see the warmth of sun shining.
Autumn colours have started showing up here,a tinge of orange and yellow is what I look forward to in a particular fall season.But sometimes it gets little painful if you have a big backyard to clean up.
Days are becoming shorter in this part, usually sun comes out at 7.30 and it goes down early too.
My day starts at 5.30 in the morning and ends at 10 in the night.Well life suddenly has become little hectic with the additional work that needs to be done on your own here.In this trying and testing time I now recall how free I was at home, with my house maid doing all the honour .
Back to reality , daughter has started her school ........but I can see her little discomfort when she comes back from her school......she kept telling about her friends back in home.Somehow I feel our little children suffer most , out of these uncertain relocations.They become mute spectators and suffer most.That makes me even more ire about things here.Anyways life doesn’t mean always bed of rosses……..but I wish I can make it at least for my lil one.

Now to the recipe for spicy pomfret curry
I have heard so much about Goan Curry that I was so eager to try this .Yes ,this is greatly inspired by the Goan fish Curry and our own Bengali prawn malaicurry.The regions are different but somehow there is a marked similarity in the ingredients and upto the certain extent the method of preparation.
Coconut milk forms the base of this curry and together with some chopped onions/ginger/garlic and few dry red peppers ,adds a nice balance of sweetness and hotness.
And how far it’s authentic , that I don’t know ,but the dish was throughly enjoyed by my Lil one,which remained my biggest concern till now whenever I prepare anything.

I made it as part of my duporer Khabar , with it also made Shorshe darosh,Moonger dal.

Pomfret Coconut Curry
Silver pomfret -2
½ tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
1 medium size onion chopped
½ inch ginger chopped finely
2-3 garlic cloves
2 bay leaf
Coconut milk ½ cup or coconut cream paste 3-4 tsp
1 small tomato chopped
3-4 tbs of cooking oil/vegetable oil

Clean the fish, cut open and take out gills etc..clear the gut with running water.I have used frozen fish that needs to be thawed before being cut and marinated.Make the fish to half,this helps in frying up the fish evenly.
Marinate it with salt and turmeric powder,keep aside.
Meanwhile chop onions,ginger and garlic and tomato.
Now heat up a deep bottom pan,add oil and fry the fish pieces to a nice brown colour.Take them out.
Now at this point, add some more oil, add in bay leaf, chopped onions/garlic/ginger and fry them very well ,till the colour changes.
Add in dry red pepper teared in between, turmeric powder, red pepper powder.
Fry this masala very well .Add in tomato(if you don’t like it ,there is no need of adding it)
Add in lilttle water and fried fish, let it simmer there for 4mints.
It’s time to add coconut milk. Add and let it simmer for some more time till the gravy thickens a bit.
I have used coconut paste for the above recipe,which is available here, just add in 3-4 tsp of the paste,that works fine ,and if you get fresh coconut milk ,nothing is better than that.
You may also like to see another recipe ,then visit here

Pomfret 'er Kalia

Happy Cooking Friends

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Shobho Vijayadashmi and Reminiscence Of Durga Pujo

Away from home, I was kind of feeling very home-sick specially Durga pujo was near.Luckily this time Pujo schedule was conciding with weekend(good for hubby and even good for us) ,so no more asking him to arrange some days off ,although over these years I have become quite habitual of seeing him working from home despite him, taking pre-planned leave during one of Pujo days…….
On Saturady ,we went to Wembley Durga Pujo.This Pujo ,I had heard is orgainised by a family( that includes an extended family of friends).

Nirmal Mukherji and his family have been organising this Durga Pujo for the last 30 years now,this year it celebrated it’s 31 st year .
Hubby called at one of the numbers provided for contacts ,asking about the details for the venue and directions and response was so prompt.

Aapniki dhake’er awaj shunte Parche na, bas chole ashon” meaning ,are you not listening to dhak/drum-beats , just hop in now”
That was just so simple and we came to the venue getting off from a route bus 79 from the Alperton tube station, walked 10 mints approx on London Road HA9 ,and soon we were in Denise Jackson Centre near Wembley Stadium.

The moment we enterd the centre,I can feel the barir Pujo atmoshpere there…..the crowd and the homely ambience ,there was a sense of familiarity despite we were coming there for the first time.
Women folks cutting and chopping vegetables in hurry , knives have taken place for Bonti,but the spirit remains the same,that reminded about how my ma,and kakimaas,jethimaas used to gather and talk endlessly while cutting and chopping the vegetables and fruits for bhog and phol prasad respectively, and our very own kaku, jethu’s would gather round the cooking area on ashtami /nabami to cook bhog for the entire community and their long adda sessions.

Meanwhile we(children ,girls specially) would be strictly told to gather dobbu( sacred grass) and flowers from neighbouring homes……….ah! things of the past remains so fresh n alive somewhere in our hearts………..
After the Pujo ,we offered pushpanjali , my Lil one also joined us in offering pushpanjali….
We waited patiently there for our turn of Bhog in a long queue.
While me and hubby caught up with little chit-chat ,our daughter started palying around with other little ones there.After the long wait ,our turn came and the wait was worth it ….Bhog Included ghee bhaat, Cholar dal,aloo phulkopir torkari ,chatney ,mishti and phol prasad.

That was just a wonderful experience and what more can I ask for.This gave me immense satisfaction as somehow I was able to feel the warmth of home there.

There was a sense of belonging despite unfamiliar faces there, a sense of achievement for everybody there,despite living in London and still carrying out the legacy of Puja with such fervor.
I was now leaving for my home feeling so contented ,a heart full of good memories of a barir Pujo in a foreign land.
And a sense of pride for our culture ,that we Probashi Bengali carry within us , what our fore-fathers tried to incorporate within us ,our culture and tradition and the sense of connecting to our roots.

I am leaving you with some of the snaps below.
Image Courtesy Shomeek Mukherji.

Wishing Everybody Shobho Vijayadashmi