Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year That Was- Bye-Bye 2010 - Welcome 2011

As all the good thing should come to end. Another good year is coming to end soon.
When I look back, I do think I have tried to cook from fresh ingredients daily which means take-away and restaurant dinning are probably once in a week affair in our home. I simply managed to pack two lunch-boxes daily early in the morning and seeing empty lunch boxes in the evening gave me immense satisfaction also. I have made no New Year resolution so far as I am unable to stick on it whenever I tried to do so. So will take the moments as it comes in the coming new year.

I have posted 70 recipes so far this year. Well also completed my 200 th post and four years of blogging. When so much is happening in this space, thought of having a good-bye post where all the recipes should be listed.
In case you have forgotten to check any recipes, you may do so now.
So, sit back with a cup of coffee or tea and read the post or recipes you have missed. If you find anything worth of trying, do so and let me know how it turn out for you.

Starting from the very first post of the year 2010.

Bandhakopi Palang Kabuli Cholar Ghonto ( Cabbage Spinach and Chick peas Vegetable Medley )
As the new year ushered in , I was struck with back to reality syndrome.And was just wondering to start this new year with a good and authentic Bengali recipe but I was little clueles while writing this post as when it comes to differentiating between a labra, chenchra , chorchori and ghonto , I do think there is a very thin line.I just thought it's better to call it a vegetable medley or in Bengali a typical "Ghonto".....

Ilish mach'er matha diye Bandhakopir Chenchra (Vegetable with Hilsa Fish Head )

When it snowed at that time, I just thought something warm and Authentic Bengali cooking would fill our heart with the warmth of our homeland.Made this Bengali way of Chenchra with Hilsa Head.Ilish/hilsa as you all know is synonymous with being a Bengali.Right ?

Keema Diye Ghughni- Yellow Matar with Minced meat

In my paternal grandparents home mutton keema ghughni was prepared on Dashmi during Durga Puja as a customary. I have fond memories of growing up surrounded by my big joint family and relishing this Keema Ghughni.

Sedhu Poli-( Steamed rice dumplings with sweet coconut filling)

Poush paban and puli-pithe, I do think every Bengali household holds this tradition of preparing something sweet during those 3-4 days of sankranti and especially during maker sankranti.

Couscous payesh

A payesh recipe with a non-traditional ingredient cous-cous and that too with palm jaggery.
I couldn’t have thought or preparing something sweet and that too from couscous but this was a very pleasant innovation for me. We thoroughly liked this payesh with palm jaggery.Wish I had some patali Gur to have the authentic touch.

Methi-Matar - Another version

Methi and matar but not with green peas.I substituted green peas with dry yellow peas and followed the recipe guidelines for keema ghughni.This vegetarian version turn out even more lip-smacking.

Pomfret 'er Tel Jhaal- a spicy preparation of pomfret fish

There is a very quick way of making a mach’er jhaal or tel jhaal.In this case pomfret is being deep fried and gravy is made using the left-over oil in the pan itself. Add a bit of green chilly and some garlic or ginger and bit of tomato pieces. A quick and easy fish curry can be set on the dinning table.

Oolkopir torkari-Kohlrabi stir/fry

 An easy -breezy Kohlrabi stir/fry.A very simple vegetarian recipe to accompany your paratha /roti or even some fried rice.

Cous-cous Upma and Cous-Cous mint salad
An Indianised/Bhartiya version of cous-cous recipe, one is upma and another is a simple salad.Cous-ous preparation makes great side-dish.

Healfy salad

This healthy salad is my 6 year old dear daughter’s creation. As she says it’s healfy so the name healfy salad. This has been a regular part of our night meals since then.

Palang Shak'er Ghonto

Palang shak’er ghonto is one such niramish /vegetarian recipe which is quite staple food in every Bengali home. I guess if you add some spicy fried bodis/wadis to this ghonto, it uplifts the taste and flavor. And in case you want some peek into Oxford, then you probably won’t like to miss this post.

Mushroom with Minced meat
I don’t think, I would have thought of this combination unless I was struck with dilemma regarding preparing a vegetarian dish. I had these mushroom but was not at all willing to prepare a vegetarian recipe. And splash of second it occurred to me to try out keema/minced meat with mushroom.

Tandoori keema kabab
Ok, I knew I was on a keema cooking splurge. But never mind it was Holi/Doul in Bengali and how could not I make something non-vegetarian. This is something you want to make-ahead of your party and reheat it at the time of serving. Excellent way to spice up your cocktail party.

Doi Diye Mach-Fish in a Yogurt gravy
A very famous preparation of fish with yogurt.

Dal/Lentil stuffed vegetables
What you do with your left-over dals.I do like to use them while kneading my roti dough or I end up using them to stuff my vegetables.Red Bell peppers and zucchini/courgettes are my favourite vegetables for this kind of stuffed vegetables.

Stuffed and Roasted baby Chicken
 Baby Chicken is stuffed with the filling made out of left-over wholemeal bread and spring onions.And then an overnight marination with loads of spices.
A perfect Sunday rendezvous with your family members at dinner table. What more you could ask for?

 Yogurt cereal Breakfast
A very healthy breakfast with cereals.I end up adding the picture in the blog's header in case you were wondering about it.

Strawberry Bread
 Strawberry and that too in a buttery bread.Do you need any more reason to indulge yourself.

Dal Bukhara and Cabbage torkari/stir fry
 Dal Bukhara a very famous north-Indian recipe and a Sabzi/torkari  made with cabbage.We had the bandhakopir torkari with paratha.

Yakhni Rui Mach'er Pulao- fish yakhni Pulao
Now this is what I call a keeper recipe. I have fond memories of my Baba cooking yakhni pulao.I was just trying to capture that vague memory of my father cooking in the kitchen. I came to realize later that my daughter was hanging with me in the kitchen much the same way I used. This recipe is amongst top 10 recipes in spice and curry.

Ice-Cream Cake Roll
This sponge cake roll turn out quite delicious and just was perfect with some more ice-cream.My DH S thought this was quite similar in a way cassata ice-cream which is so fondly eaten back home.

Mango Mousse

One delicious desert made with mango syrup available here in cans. It saved a whole lot of time and sweat in kitchen. A very quick and easy desert to assemble in case you have some company in the evening.

Huli Podi

Made this South-Indian sambhar powder and also a nice fancy scarf for my DD.


Sprouts are very healthy.Made this quick chaat recipe with green /chana /Chick peas.I now can say I have grown something organics all by myself in comfy of my home.

Dill Leaves with Potatoes- aloo soya pattey ki sabzi
I had my share of memories growing up in a North-Indian neighborhood. This recipe is being part of that memory.
In case you want to look into some Stonehenge Pictures, you won't want to miss this post.

Chicken Chowmein

Indianised version of a Chinese staple with loads of spices.I happened to change my layout, the one that you see now, also from this post onwards.

Buffalo Chicken Wings
We were in then enjoying summer days and this was just a perfect way to use up chicken wings and spice-up our dinner table.

Tangra Mach'er jhaal
 A fish curry made with coarse powder churned freshly.Cumin seeds-Nigella seeds-whole black pepper is made into a coarse powder and then added to the simmering fish curry.Amazing flavour with freshly prepared masala.

Pabda Fish Curry
This fish curry is a quick fix meal.A very Bengali way of preparing fish curry with the oil that comes out after frying the fish called as mach'er tel , so the name "Pabda mach'er tel jhaal"..

Bottle Gourd with Huli Podi

Lao'er torkari kinto dakhini twist diye..which means a Bengali is trying to incorporate some South-Indian flavour with Sambhar Powder.If that makes some sense..yes and it did taste fantastic.A very vegetarian recipe, goes great with rotis or porota.

Quinoa with Scrambled egg
  This was a surprise combination for me.I tried my hand for the first time making something with quinoa..pronounced as "keen-wah"..well I wasn't disappointed at all.

Rui Mach'er do Pyaza
When I prepared this, my inner self was divided in two different opinions. Rui fish is prepared generally in a very traditional Bengali way of making curry. And Do pyaza is if am not wrong is a North-Indian way of making spicy non-vegetarian curry.curry. But it looks like the amalgamation of both the world is even more delicious.

Cute Duck Poris for Kids
My friend K shared this recipe and Pictures here.Thanks K for being a part of our world here.Hope someday we will meet again.

Methi Huli Podi Paratha

Another way of incorporating some spices in an everyday roti.And we all know benefits of green leaves.

Peshwari naan
These naans are great for any party or even if you are making it just for your family.Peshwari naans are little different as these have some stuffing.Usually the stuffing is made of some dry fruits/coconut etc..

Chicken yakhni Pulao
Another yakhni Pulao.A pulao preparation made with aromatic water or yakhni in Hindi.This has been my way of making chicken pulao for quite bit of time now.This remind me of my Baba's way of making chicken dum pulao in large dekchi for entire joint family.

Dosa and sambhar
Although I have been making dosa for quite a long time.But I always forget to mentio it here.This was long overdue I guess.

Thai Style Chicken Curry
I would call this a little variation from signature Thai recipes as I didn't had some of the ingredients like galangal and kafir lime.But still it came out delicious.We had a nice time eating it with warm cooked rice.

Hyderabadi Lukmi or Keema Shingara
This recipe has become one of the most read post in this blog.This one is really a great discovery for me.We just don't need any reasons for making this.Now where is my cup of tea?

Cauliflower with Huli podi
Kopir Torkari with dakhini twist.I made this cauliflower sabzi wih the sambhar powder that I made previously.And trust me with home-made freah powder everything taste so delicious.A must try for every vegetarian.

Rui Fish with Cabbage
 Rui Mach'er matha diye bandhakopir torkari.Well all said and done,a very traditional Bengali home-cooking, if you are interested then sometimes give it a try.Oh! and this post was my 200th post ..finally!!

Steps in making Rotis- a beginners guide
This was a result of a readers request for tips in making rotis.Never realized so much goes into making my daily affair of making rotis.Some great insights into the chemistry of making rotis.

Around The world- Craft Ideas
This post is all about home-made crafts for kids.In case you are wondering how to keep your child engaged with some good works.Then this post has some great links to try out craft ideas.

Baby Corn-Beans-Brinjal sabzi
Alright three B sabzi , an excellent way of incorporating vegetables to your daily cooking.

Baby Corn Red Bell pepper Sabzi

Alright this one turn out even more flavourful with addition of tangy tomatoes and sweet red bell peppers.

Parota and Aloor torkari  and  Cherry banana Pancakes
Both these posts reminds us of
Shakalaer Jol-khabar e Bideshi influence.OK, with change in pace of life and migration towards bigger cities from villages.Our eating habits have changed also.This post is a reminder to start all over again the forgotten practices and recipes and specially at Breakfast table.

Murg Shahi Korma
If you think you can resist this awesome recipe, you are wrong.This is a stunner and as I am writing this, it reminds me of the amazing aroma and flavour it has.Splendid recipe.

Zucchini Onion Fritters

Ghiya or lauki or lao ke pakode is a famous way of making pakodas in a typical UP aen home.Well, just substituted Lauki with zucchini and I was not disappointed at all.A very flavourful preparation for pakodas on a rainy day.

Pista Murg Keema -Chicken mince with pistachios
Loads of flavour with Pistachios, minced meat was never the same.This turned out very delicious.

Nimbu Ka Achaar-Lemon Pickle

I tried my hand in making Achaar and rest is history now.There is always some batches of this nimbu ka achaar in our home.With this home-made achaar our meals have become little more interesting, oh! I mean Delicious.

Shorshe Mangetout/snowpeas
This is my take on sheem shorshe.As we get mangetouts plenty here, so thought of subs sheem/hyacinth beans with mangetout would be a decent idea.This saw a keeper recipe also.Made home-made mustard powder which we used regularly in our day-today cooking.

It was Durga Puja and we were thinking of making somthing which should warm up our heart to the festivity.Darbesh as I fondly recall as prepared on may be nabami. So here is my easy and simple take on Darbesh.

Till Ke Gajak-
Gajak as I can recall is a North-Indian sweet snack prepared especially during winters.These turn out quite OK for us.Evening time snack has some great variation now.

Microwable Sandesh
This was during Diwali that I prepared these M/W Sandesh.Things have become far easy now with the inventions of new technologies.

Pabda Mach'er Shorsher Jhaal
Pabda fish and shorsher bata I mean mustard seed paste- a very intriguing combination.

Ever versatile Pressure Cooker Pulao
Well the name says it all, isn't?

Pear Pancake
 Fruity Pancakes are always great ways to warm our breakfast table.

Coconut and Brussel sprouts stir/fry
Narkol diye brussel sprouts.A great vegetarian side-dish,goes well with rotis and rice as well.

Home-made granola cereal
home -made stuff is always healthy with no additional chemical preservatives etc.I don't see a reason to purchase boxed cereals now.

Paneer Shahi Korma
 A vegetarian delight.Rich and creamy with the addition of almonds in it.

Eggless walnut dates bread
Well the name says it all.Loved this eggless bread and trust me this is a keeper recipe.

Easy chicken noodle
well it was snowing and to keep ourself warm this easy chicken noodle soup came to our rescue.

Pistachios cookies
What is Christmas without some cookies.Well this is our read me and my daughters joint effort in making these cookies.

Kosha Shorshe Murgi -Chicken in spicy mustard sauce
And special mention about this post.This is a recipe shared here by my loving DH S.You can not resist this recipe and I am still smitten by that taste and flavour.You have to try it out to know what I mean here.

Thats it friends

Good bye 2010, Welcome 2011

For a better world without hate,

Follow your heart, believe in fate

Only visions and the mind,

Will guide you to the light :-)

---lines from “Goodbye Milky Way” by Enigma

Wish you all a very Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chalks and Chopsticks-6 -Round-Up

It was a pleasure hosting Chalks and Chopstick- Edition 6 here. Thanks to all the participants who have sent their entries. Thanks Aqua for giving me a chance to host this fantastic food-event.

Now, let’s have a look into the few entries that we got here.

Priyanka at Asankhana

Pia does the same as her mother tells her ,she mixes,remixes more flour and water to get firm consistency dough,
Elated Pia thanks her mom.Next her mother asks her to collect the utensils for rolling out the parathas,rolling pin,flour to dust ,oil and casserole lined with foil to keep the parathas warm....Read More ..........

And here is another entry ..

He wanted to do something special for her,something which would make this Christmas eve special for her.Since his fathers death his mother was everything for him.His teacher had explained him the recipe,with his small fingers he mixed everything in a bowl ,kneaded soft dough and kept the dough in the fridge to chill.He knew his mother wont be back till evening...What happens next --Read More............

Aqua-- Served with Love

As he put the whisky back into the liquor cabinet, his eyes fell on the bottle of Kahlua. That was it....Kahlua, and not whisky, was perfect for the cake.

Suddenly, he was in the grip of an overpowering urge to bake the cake right away, all by himself. Soon, he was in the kitchen, melting and mixing the ingredients, getting intoxicated by the combined aromas of coffee, chocolate and Kahlua...Read More...........

 Jaya at Spice and Curry

In a small kitchen Purbaoun‘s wife, Nirupa was working on her “sheel nora” with some mustard seeds and some green chilies.And occasionally she would start worrying about the continuous heavy showers.
She remembered few days back “Purot mashayi” told them that this year Ma Durga is coming on “dolna”/swing and her “gaman” or returning to her home Kailash is on “gaj”/elephant. Usually gaman on Gaj meant prosperity and happiness.
She was grinding Mustard seeds on Sheel Nora to make shorsh’er bata for Pabda mach’er shorshe batar Jhaal....Read More ..........

Well the name says it all ---SS blogs Here

She scooped up a warm macaroon and popped it into her mouth.
Summer and Winter had imploded.. it was like she had flown South!
Dark-vader was close at her heels. But instead of being afraid,
Raushni charged straight at her Bully with a mean Coconut Grenade! ..........Read More .........

Thanks all for your participations and lovely stories and a poem.See you all in the next edition of Chalks and Chopsticks.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pistachio Cookies and Merry Christmas

School holidays have started here. That makes me little busier these days as I have to keep a restless toddler occupied with something or the other thing. I always look out for simple chores which should excite her to try out and do with less effort. Cooking is a great way to engage a child particularly in these long holidays. Now don’t take me wrong with that, I mean some easy cooking like assembling a Healfy Salad  or making Simple Mango Lassi . Or in this case may be trying out a little bit of photography for a change. Below what you see is her first try for food photography.

My DD has this inner curiosity to try out things which she sees her mamma doing regularly. The other day she was trying to make round rotis with some left-over atta/ flour dough and rolling pin. And when things were not going the way she wished them, I mean rotis and that too round, she started to fuss over.
Don’t know why kids have this fascination for being a grown-up. I tell her sometimes “Arey baba, ekto dhirey-dhirey boro ho, amar kaaj eto tara-tari kom korish na” (meaning Grow up slowly) to that she gives me a smiling face, some words understood and some aren’t.

We both started to make these pistachios cookies together; she helped me in shelling the roasted pistachios which I do think is a very tedious chore. And then she helped in folding the dough for cookies also. She was curious and helping me out till then , but when we started to cut out shapes her initial euphoria subsided quickly when she was dropping the cut-out of cookies on kitchen floor but not on baking tray.
And then she told me” Can I watch cartoons now?” This may be her way of telling me mamma I am done with these cookies cutting and baking bussiness.Now let me please do things which I do regularly and with little effort.

Well Kids will be kids. But then we also want it that way. Aren’t we? For a mother her children will be her kids forever even if they become grown-ups having their own children.

To the recipe now

These cookies are improvised version of these Pistachio Lemon Biscotti .I  just thought of  some minor additions of amount of butter will give the right crunchy texture. Generally I chop pistachios for the biscotti recipe, but this time I crushed them with the rolling pin. That gave a correct mixture of some big chunks and some powdered pistachios as well which further gave a nice nutty flavor to these pistachios cookies. You can easily replace pistachios with walnuts, almonds or cashews for that matter as per your preference. But the only requirement is that nuts should be toasted /roasted well before.

Pistachios Cookies/ Pista Biscuit

Recipe requirements
About 1 cup of all purpose flour +2 tbs of flour
1 egg
¼ cup of sugar
½ cup of butter
¾ tsp of baking powder
1 tbs of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp of grated lemon zest
1cup of crushed roasted pistachios

Measure about 1 cup of all purpose flour. Tap it gently and press it with a spoon for correct measurement and then run over a knife over the measuring cup discarding extra flour.
Add in the baking powder. Add in crushed pistachios also.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. It would be better if you bring the butter to room temperature. Just take the butter out of the fridge prior of making these cookies.

Now here two types of butter are available –salted butter and unsalted butter. I have no preference for a particular type of butter. But if I am making /baking with salted butter I prefer not to add further salt in my recipes. In India I presume salt is already added to butter so check out while making these cookies or for that matter any cake, cookie or biscotti.

Now add one egg. Again I would repeat, take the egg out of the fridge prior of making these cookies and let it come at least somewhat near to room temperature.

Now slowly start mixing the egg, lemon juice and grated lemon zest to the butter+sugar mixture.

Its time to mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients in batches. Slowly start mixing about 3-4 tbs of flour mixture to the butter+sugar mixture.You may need some more flour at this stage to hold up the dough. Add in the extra 2-3 tbs of flour to this dough.

When all the flour is mixed up well, refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1 hr. This way it would be easy to manage and cut the dough into various shape.

Line up a cookie sheet or baking tray with foil.

Preheat an oven (fan assisted oven) at 165 deg C or 325 deg F.

Divide the dough into four equal parts. While working with one part, refrigerate the other three parts.

Roll out a small circle of about half inch thickness dusting generously with some more flour and cut shapes of your choice with different cookie cutters.

Transfer these to the baking tray and bake for 18-20 mints depending on your oven.
When the sides are turning little golden or just start to show tinge of brown, take them out and cool.

Do the other batches this way. Store in air-tight containers. Stays fresh for 1 week.


For retaining the crunchy texture and freshness of cookies, store them in layers of grease paper or tissue papers. This way these cookies remain fresh and crunchy even after 1 week.
This helps if you are sending these as Christmas goodies back home or to a friend in other cities.

You can easily replace pistachios with walnuts or almonds or cashews. But make sure nuts are toasted or roasted.

Happy Cooking Friends and Wish you a very Happy Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ever Versatile Easy Chicken Noodles Soup and Some pictures of Snow

It snowed heavily here yesterday, and nothing can be comparable when it comes to enjoying snowy weather. We went to a park nearby, all covered or should I say packed up very well and enjoyed throwing snow on each other. Below are some of the snaps we clicked on our small walking journey. Hope you all like as much as we enjoyed clicking them.So, sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy this virtual walking tour.

It is Christmas in the heart which puts Christmas in the air.

Red and White –Two colors which defines the very nature of being in Christmas mood.

Green and White-Another colors to define Christmas mood.

Now who would have thought of cleaning this much of snow, and then drive?

As many trains, tubes and bus came to a complete halt today, this little make-shift train in children’s park is all decked up with white snow if it could get some passengers. Where are you all?

Anyone out there if you really care to sit in here.

Hello!! My name is Mr. Snowman; hope you have a splendid Christmas and happy New Year.

Frosty and desolate but snow can even glorify a dry tree as well.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, You know when I say - We have been here too . Another Moment captured in our memories forever.

Alright then,
Now to the recipe- very simple chicken noodles soup to keep us warm in this cold weather here.

With this kind of weather a bowl of comforting soup lifts your spirit and energy level also. After a long walk, we were tired and this comforting bowl of soup was just the kind of food we were craving for. There are no special ingredients to make it. This is another ever versatile soup recipe that we like to prepare. Use vegetables as much as you can.

Noodles Chicken Soup

Recipe requirements and method
About 1 egg noodle
Vegetables of your choice
I used 2 carrots
Some3-4 beans
1 medium size potatoes
2 medium size tomatoes
Half an inch of ginger
2 garlic pods
About half a cup of green peas
2 tsp of black pepper
1 tsp of salt
2-3 chicken legs or chicken wings or chicken breast  cut into large bite size cubes
Half cup of shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
If you have pressure cooker. Then it’s as easy as it can be.
Add in about 5-6 cups of water in pressure cooker.
Now add all the chopped vegetables-potato, tomato, beans, carrots.Add in ginger and garlic.
Add in seasonings-salt and black pepper.
Add in chicken legs/pieces.
Lock the pressure cooker and now put the pressure cooker to high flame. Let it whistle once. Now lower the flame and let it simmer with lid for about 8-10 mints. Take off from the flame.
When the pressure subsides, then unlock the pressure cooker lid.
In a separate pan, bring some water to boil. Add little bit of salt and then add 1 cake of egg noodle and cook.
Add in this cooked noodles over the hot chicken soup. Alternately you can cook all over very low flame with a large cooking pot over 30-50 mints or till the chicken are well cooked.
Garnish with mozzarella cheese and enjoy in this cold weather.

Well since it’s festive time, made this Black Forest Cake too. If you wish you can find the recipe Here.

It has been brought to my notice by one of my readers that they are not receiving the verification e-mail for feed burner e-mail subscription membership. I personally am unable to fix this problem as this is entirely managed or generated by feed burner.
To all those who haven’t received verification e-mail, I do deeply regret it and apologies for this mis-understanding. I do not wish this should have happened. However I can do very little on that as this is managed by feedburner.Is there any other way we can fix this problem, do let me know friends.

Hope you do enjoy winter and festivity.Stay warm.

 Happy Cooking Friends and a Very Happy Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Eggless Walnut and Dates Bread

Alright, then another week has started and with that countdown to Christmas has also started.Soon another splendid year will be saying adieu to all of us.
All shopping malls and grocery shops are well decked up with huge shinning and glittering green Christmas trees, reindeers and cut outs of huge Santa. Where ever you go now , you hear “Silent night, Holy night” or “All I want this Christmas” or “Santa Baby” or “Santa Claus is coming to town” ..Well my list will go on. Love the warmth of festivity and color.
Last time when it snowed here, they were back to our neighborhood, searching for food. And whenever I see them, I always try to click-click. Imagine if we can decode their code words while conversing with each others. These seagulls would have said something like this...

Now if you have enjoyed their little chit-chat, shall we now move towards recipe of the post.

With Christmas near, thought of using my hibernating oven to good use. Well, made these eggless dates walnut bread. This is an excellent breakfast bread recipe.
I have been thinking to do some eggless baking, but was little skeptical of trying it out. This eggless bread recipe is more of an evolved form of recipe for eggless date’s cake recipe. As the texture it turned out was much of bread than of the cake. So, I just thought it’s better to name it bread than cake .This bread is very sweet and moist.
If you have forgotten to purchase bread from supermarket on Sunday grocery shopping or were lazy enough to go out like me. And then wondering what your folks will eat for breakfast the next morning, don’t panic. Just start preparing it right away. Dates are available here plenty these days.
Soak up some dates in warm milk and make a pulp. This will give the required moistness and volume to the bread.

Now to the recipe
Eggless Walnut Dates bread

Recipe requirements
15-20 dates
1 cup of warm milk
½ cup of sugar
1 ½ cup of flour/Maida
5-7 tbs of cooking oil/vegetable oil/canola oil
¾ tsp of baking powder
½ tsp of baking soda
1 ½ cup of chopped walnuts

Warm about 1 cup of milk in a milk pot or M/W for 2 mints at high.
Then wash the dates well. And soak them in warm milk for about 2-3 hrs.It would be better if dates are pitted. Then make a smooth pulp in a food processor.
Now mix in with sugar and oil. And process it well in food processor.
Mix in dry ingredients like –flour, baking soda, baking powder in big mixing bowl.
Slowly start mixing the dates+sugar+oil puree with the dry ingredients.
Fold in toasted walnut pieces.
If you wish you may add some sultanas or raisins also.
Preheat an oven at 180 deg C.
Prepare a loaf tin, and then pour the batter for bread.
Bake for about 40-45 mints at 180 deg C (fan assisted oven) or till a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the loaf.
Enjoy with a cup of coffee or have it with honey or ice-cream or pudding.

This is going to Asankhana for It's Time Jingle again-Christmas event 2010.Visit here for more details- Click Here

Happy Cooking Friends

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Paneer Shahi Korma

This has been a very cold winter here so far. News papers are boasting it as one in a life time event, perhaps happening here after year 1960.And we are expecting white Christmas this year.
Not the kind of weather I would say I enjoy but then I like to see white snow everywhere. So, all is fair. I clicked these pictures last week when it was snowing here.

Now if you have enjoyed the pictures, then shall we move to the recipe for this post..

I always have a fascination towards Mughlai cuisine. Although, I must admit that I like to indulge once in a while with that much of spices and cream or nuts. But when I do, I make sure I use it generously. This recipe is like many other recipes out there in net. But I was very much making a much improvised version of Julie Sahni’s recipe from her cooking book “Classical Indian Cooking”. Although, I have put the spice content to some higher level.
This is an excellent party menu-recipe when you want to satisfy your vegetarian guest. Richness of the gravy and the flavour of paneer make it a winner, but then Kormas are thought to be like that. I have clicked the pictures in night, so the not so clear image. Initially, I thought I will be clicking with the left-over paneer shahi korma next morning with bright sunny light, but we hadn’t any left-over. It was all gone, even my picky-eater daughter couldn’t resist it with that much of spice.
Here to the recipe

Paneer Shahi korma

Recipe Requirements
2 -3 medium size onions
4-5 garlic
1 inch ginger
5-6 tsp of grounded coriander
2-3 tsp of grounded red pepper
1 tsp of grounded turmeric
1-2 green chilies slit in between
Salt as per taste
About ¼ cup of cooking oil
1 cup plain yogurt lightly beaten
15-18 almonds
Soak about 15-16 almonds in some lukewarm water. After about 20-30 mints, peel the skin and then transfer to the food processor jar or kitchen grinder whatever you have.
Make a smooth paste in a heavy duty processor with the following ingredients
Blanched almonds, 2-3 onions, about 1 inch ginger and 3-4 fat garlic, 4-5 tsp grounded coriander powder, 2 tsp red pepper powder, turmeric powder, green chilly and some water + some oil.
Heat up a saucepan, add in 4-5 cloves, and add in the above prepared paste. Fry it well for 8-10 mints at medium high flame.
Add in about whisked 1 cup yogurt. TIP-Adding yogurt in batches to the sauce reduces the chances of curdling the sauce; gently fold in yogurt about 2-3 tbs one at a time probably at a very low flame, stirring continuously so that it gets all incorporated to the sauce. Never hurry this step.
Add about 1 and half cup of lukewarm water depending on the gravy you want. If you want thick gravy adding 1 or perhaps ¾ cup of lukewarm water is sufficient.
Cover it and cook it at low for 15-20 mints. Make sure to check in between so that the gravy/sauce doesn’t get stick at the bottom of the pan.
When the sauce has just started to become thick, then add sliced paneer pieces and take it off from the flame.As you add paneer, it has a tendency to soak up the gravy. So it’s better to keep some gravy otherwise at the time of serving, the gravy will dry up.If you wish you may add cream or butter at the time of serving.
Serve with warm cooked rice or naans.Enjoy!!

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Enjoy your stay in Spice and Curry and Happy Cooking.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Homemade Granola Cereal

Today was one very cold, wintery day and yesterday it even slightly snowed here. I like to sit and see through my glass window with a cup of coffee and a good book if possible ,these pretty white snow flakes slowly flowing with zephyr and finally hitting to the ground.Nature has beauty in every move it takes.I was little skeptical of going out in this cold, but this fellow was all smiling at me.

 And yeah I was rightly motivated to go out attending all daily obligations that life has offered me.If he can, so can I !!

What could have been a boring grey day for me, turn out to be a pleasant, dazzling day. I was asking myself the entire day do I need reasons to cook or not to cook. You know the tussle between my Good and my Bad. Well, a feeble voice inside me echoed to go ahead and make the most out of the day. So, here are some of the pictures I clicked while it was slightly snowing out here yesterday.And as I am writing this in night, it's snowing outside today also.Hope to see some more snow tomorrow morning when we wake up.

Snow showers just starting to come down.

Speeding up with the wind
and flowing with  gutsy.

Finally, ending their long journey as water droplets on my balcony glass shield.
Love the pattern here.

My day began, packing two lunch boxes in the early morning hour, which probably was not what I had planned the previous night, keeping in mind the snow shower weather forecast earlier. And you all know we Bengalis are like that, we are always at extremes. So, when it’s winter we shiver merely seeing snow on TV. Correct me if I am wrong. It was like one busy morning for me. Although, I prefer to plan things ahead when I pack two lunch boxes at one go. Those of you who have school going children and office going husband, probably can identify with my dilemma or rather complex situation here. Imagine the daily dramas in the early morning, you seem don’t seem to like it. Yeah you are not alone my friend.
One thing that I rather have started taking seriously is checking weather forecast after we moved here. Now, those of you who have spent half of your life or growing up years in India or are probably born in 80’s.If you can relate to those old DD days. And if you remember, how news readers would read aloud some stereotypical lines about weather forecast at the end of each session. Remember the good old  INSAT-1B Satellite , and it’s not so reliable forecast!!
Things have become savvy these days with so many private news channels and many more new satellites for fool-proof weather predictions.So, there has been a prediction of a very cold winter season this year here.  Let's see if we can see some snowy white clad trees, houses and roads this year too.

But this post is not about weather reporting or discussing my family. Well this post is about a recipe which is simple but yet very healthy.

It’s been quite a long time that I have saved this home-made granola recipe in my draft. But couldn’t find an appropriate time to post. And I must say this has been a great discovery for me. Now, I don’t see a reason why I need to get boxed cereals from supermarkets.
If you are like me, a fan of doing things from scratch then, I would say to give it a try once. And if you think oats are healthy, of course they are healthy. Then you have good reasons to make it.

Home-made granola cereal recipe

Adapted from Betty Crocker-Here

3 cups of rolled oats
¾ cup of flour
Your choice of any nuts
I prefer using some almonds+walnuts- approx 1 cup
1 tsp of salt
½ cup of vegetable oil
½ cup of honey
½ cup of water
1/4  cup of sugar or as you prefer

Preheat oven at 150 deg C or 300 deg F
In a mixing bowl beat honey, oil and water.
Crush almonds and walnuts with rolling pin over a cuting board.It should make approx 1-1 ½ cup of nuts.
Now prepare the dry mixture.
Before you go further let me write that this recipe originally have called for old-fashioned or rolled oats which is groats that are steamed and rolled out.
But I have used super fast or quick oats for this recipe,dont get confused with quick Quaker oats which is not what I have used.Super fast or quick oats are instant oats which are partially cooked and then they are rolled in.So, they need to be rehydrated.And we can consider more this to be oatmeal.
Old fashioned oats will tend to be more chewy and more likely to retain the goodness of oats.Choose what works best for you.
now to further steps
Mix oats, nuts, flour and salt.TIP-If you wish you may add any other seeds also like-sunflower seeds.
Now mix gently the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.Mix well .
Now spread this mixture evenly in two baking trays.I  would say line up a foil or grease paper.Trust me it reduces the amount of work you will be doing at the washing sink.
Line up two shelf in the oven.Line the rack on second and last shelf.
Place one baking tray on the upper rack and other on the lower rack.
Bake for 15-20 mints .Then take out and stir it well.
Now shift the trays so that the upper rack tray goes down and the lowers rack tray comes on top.Bake again for 12-15 mints stirring in between.Keep an eye on it and check if they turn out barely golden.Take them out immediately.

Let it cool off before you keep them in air tight containers.This batch of home-made cereals remained fresh for one week and it was sufficient for our morning breakfast.
Have it with cold milk or warm milk what ever way you prefer.

If you have time then I would suggest baking it even at low temp of 135 deg but then increase the time for baking. This way they turn out even crunchier.
And if you wish you may just top it over your favorite ice-cream also. Yum!!

Happy Cooking Friends

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Kosha Shorshe Murgi- Hot and Spicy Chicken in Mustard Sauce and It's being four years of blogging

This blog is four years old now. For these past four years there have been some very active moments and some very dull moments as well. Even sometimes I thought that’s it, this is my final post and I was almost, well about to retire from active food blogging. But my better half always thought otherwise, although I must mention, he hardly has time to check what goes here so leave alone helping me in updating this blog. He has always inspired me to continue writing here, whenever I thought that it’s high time I should call my day here. I also somehow managed to keep working and updating the recipe index here on a regular basis.So, let’s hope that this blog continues to see many more sun shining days ahead.

And also let me take this big opportunity to thank every reader who have stopped by to read recipes here.And have become a great part of my life.Thanks to all of you who have liked this space and tried recipes from here.Without you all it wouldn't have meant anything to me.Thank You All Dear Friends.

There is literary no contribution from my better half as far as recipes are concerned here. So, when he came up with a recipe for chicken and made it too, I was kind of floored. Last time he made something on a similar genre was this –Hearty Fish Curry which was way, way back perhaps in 2008.

And I am writing it in bold and urging you all please read it in bold – I am still smitten. So, this sudden rush to post this recipe, although I have few other recipes lined up for publishing .It’s like breaking a protocol and gate-crashing but I am glad I am doing this.No regrets what so ever. And this is just a perfect way of celebrating four years in blogging which ironically was in October.But it's never late when you decide to acknowledge things.

I asked him to write down this recipe and his thoughts for this post, but he declined and said it’s your space and you should run your show also. Will you all please leave messages so that I can convince him to write something here in future?
Alright then my better half S says “Chef always doesn’t cook regularly but they do give instructions for a keeper recipe”. And I was kind of puzzled when he said he is going to make Kosha Shorshe Chicken. What Shorshe chicken, I mean I have heard shorshe mach,shorshe ilish, shorshe chingri and shorshe begun, shorshe dharosh and what not but never ever in life shorshe chicken. I thought may be he is joking or something weird or some creepy crawlies went inside his brain or probably he is overworked in the office. No, but I was wrong for good reasons.

When we were just starting to make it, he was not satisfied. He told me you haven’t defrosted the chicken earlier, not enough time for defrosting, so it’s not tender, and then how can chicken soak up the marinating juice. Wow! Did he mention marinating of chicken? And I thought this fellow doesn’t know how to make simple omelets.
Anyways he said it’s better to marinate the chicken prior of making this recipe. And he suggested using baby chicken or Cornish hen for this recipe. If you wish you may cut and divide into 4-5 big pieces. He suggested that since baby chicken has rather soft flesh, the cooked meat will be tender and bursting with flavors.
He further added if you have time, marinate the chicken overnight. What goes into marination? Lots of mustard oil, salt and red pepper powder and crushed red chilly flakes. And he said do not rush up and the entire cooking would be done on low flame and slowly.

Ok, if you forgot to marinate the chicken overnight, like the day we were making it. Just marinate for 1-2 hrs prior of cooking the chicken. But this time, he suggested marinating the chicken with the paste that you will be making for the gravy. But I said let’s go without marinating the chicken and fry the gravy first and then add chicken pieces which he seemed to agree later on. But he told me to write here specifically that marinating the chicken prior of cooking, is the key part for a tender and juicy chicken.
Since we were using Home-made mustard powder that I made it in bulk earlier, we used up that at the time of frying the chicken pieces with the paste. However if you are working with fresh mustard paste, I would suggest to add at the end.

Now to the recipe for

Kosha Kaju-Shorshe Chicken

Recipe Requirements and detail procedure

For the paste
4-5 medium size purple onions
7-8 fat garlic cloves
1*1/2 inch ginger
10-12 cashews
4-5 dry red pepper ( small ones which are very hot and spicy, which we call in Bengali” Dhani shokno lonka”)
1-3 tsp of fresh crushed red pepper
3-4 tsp of coriander powder
1-2 tsp of turmeric powder
3-4 heaped tsp of mustard powder
1 medium size tomato
3-4 tbs of mustard oil (a must for this recipe)
Salt as per taste
Crush some “ gota garam mashla” or whole garam masala like—mace, nutmeg,black cardamom, cinnamon and cloves with rolling pin and add it at the time of making the spicy paste.
Grind all the above in a mixer-grinder to a smooth paste.
Since we were using big pieces of chicken so, we used our pressure cooker pan. But if you have proper materials, then use a large thick bottom wok/or dekchi in Bengali so that you can fry well the chicken pieces.
Heat up approx 2-3 tbs of mustard oil and about 2 tbs of butter.
Add the prepared paste.
Now at high flame stir/fry the paste for 8-10 mints. When it starts to dry up a little bit, add about one ladle full of water.
Add marinated chicken pieces to the fried gravy. If you have marinated the chicken pieces with red pepper powder earlier, then adjust the spice level at the time of making the masala paste in mixer-grinder.
Fry it well on a high flame, stirring in between till the oil separates out and the color of gravy changes to somewhat dark and becomes thick just coating well all the chicken pieces or in Bengali “makha-makha”.
Now add approx 1 cup of water. Lower the flame and let it simmer slowly for 45-50 mints.
At the time of serving, I would suggest to warm it a bit more. Have this kosha shorshe chicken with rice piping hot. I haven’t tasted anything delicious as such this for ages now. And my mouth is watering remembering that delicious lunch we had last Sunday.
And it tastes even more flavorful the next day. Keep some left-over to enjoy next day.
My better half suggests using baby chicken or Cornish hen for tender juicy chicken.
Marinate the chicken overnight.
You can replace cashews with peanuts, but that would be altogether a different recipe. Be prepared for another variation with peanuts.
Cooking oil should be mustard oil; no other oil can compensate the flavour of shorshe chicken.

Wish all of you a very nice weekend.Happy Cooking.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Narkol Diye Brussel Sprouts- Spicy Brussel Sprouts stir/fry with Coconut

I must admit that one thing which we keep wishing is, the weekend holidays. But the moment with it comes, it’s gone also. I mean you start off getting late on Saturday, and then you realized that half of the day is gone while you were sleeping and being lazy. Saturday and Sunday means, late breakfast which is more or less is a sort of brunch for us and then we head out for some outings.
My hubby dear S doesn’t like to spend his Saturdays in home. Even I say that noops I am going to spend time in home. He would say you always spend time in home, its’ just that you need to get some fresh air also. And you have the entire weekdays to spend in home. Outings are good for your mind and body as well. A kind of person he is and as far as I have known him, I would say he likes to take his back-pack and leave out as soon as it’s holiday or weekend. He has very much mellowed down after our daughter is born, become more serious and a pro-active, possessive father too.
And the kind of bond these two shares, I mean there are particular times when I am not even allowed to enter their space. They would go out for dating sans me and would eat doughnuts and pastries, a way of expressing freedom, love in their own terms I guess. I do think every father-daughter relationship is like that a kind of special bonding.
Sometimes if they are in good mood, they would bring some for me also but that’s those rare occasions.
Most of the travel account that you read here are solely his ideas. He comes up with all ideas and then we plan accordingly. My contribution is only taking some snaps for my blog which he finds sometimes astonishing. But would patiently wait till I finish taking some snaps before we hop on to other place. He doesn’t believe in face book and twitter. He would say why I want to keep track of those friends/batch mates whom I have forgotten or lost account after passing school, college etc. If they were that much of important in my life, I wouldn’t have lost account of them in first hand. So, when I opened a face book account, yeah I have finally managed to do so. He was smiling and said you are also in peer pressure which was a very soft way of telling me you also succumbed to these modern social networking sites!!. I couldn’t disagree on that even I wished to.
I must say, the kind of happiness blogging gives me; face book hasn’t still allured me. I am there but still can’t figure it out much. I find true comfort here interacting with you all.

Now, to the recipe for the day.
Brussels sprouts are these cute little cabbages, green and a very healthy option of having a vegetarian stir/fry. Those of you, who read this blog regularly, know my inclination towards simple vegetable stir/fry. I finely chopped Brussels sprouts and then made a dry stir/fry with coconut. I do think that if I had some soaked brown chick peas or chana , that would have been even better. This dish was well eaten by my picky-eater daughter and Hubby dear also. We had it with rotis.

Narkol diye Brussel Sprouts

Recipe Requirements and Method

Half a packet of Brussels sprouts or approx 2 large cups of Brussels sprouts, chopped as finely as possible.
About half a cup of fresh coconut scraps or very small pieces
For the tempering
1 tsp of panch phoron
2-3 dry red peppers
1 tsp of turmeric chowder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
Salt as per taste
1 tsp of sugar
2-4 tbs of cooking oil
Chop Brussels’ sprouts finely.
Now heat up a pan, add oil, and temper it with panch phoron, dry red peppers.Tip-I would suggest to use " Shokno Dhani Lonka",  or small extra hot dry red peppers for that spicy kick in this dish.Or you may use fresh crushed hot dry red pepper available here in packets.
Now add fresh scraped coconut or coconut pieces.Tip- if you are working with fresh coconut.Soak them overnight in water, the other day use your wooden rolling pin to break the outer hard covering.It's much easier this way to handle the coconut.One of my South Indian friend here told me to try it this way.And yeah it worked very well.So, dont need to think about the left-over coconut pieces.Simply freeze them in zip-seal packets with date written.Stays fresh for months.I have still two batches of zip-sealed coconut in my freezer which I will be using up to make Narkel nadus and some fish curries.

Add the chopped Brussels’ sprouts, add all the seasonings
Red pepper powder, turmeric powder, salt and sugar.
Fry well for 7-9 mints at medium –low flame or till Brussels sprouts shrinks.
Now if you wish you may add some soaked black gram peas or brown gram peas.
Cover it and cook further 5-6 mints at low.
Open the lid, and stir/fry it well.
Add 1 tbs of butter and 1 tsp of black pepper powder.You may add about 1 tsp of sugar, but it's not necessary.
Serve with rice or roti what ever way you like to have it.

Happy Cooking Friends

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pear Pancake- Quick and Easy Breakfast

You wake up in morning, and the first thing you do is, see outside your window. And this view greets you in the morning.

Well usually it will leave you thinking about the weather adversity here. But everything has something beautiful to offer, it’s the way how you perceive it.

This dense fog would remind me of train journeys back in India especially during winters. The lonesome train running on tracks, steaming through, cutting through the dense fog around it.
Passing by vast green fields, brick homes, ponds, peoples, villages and rivers and running ahead to reach the destination on time.

Now don’t get me wrong if I try to catch a glimpse of that bygone era. Here train journeys are pretty boring and mundane, no “tamasha” or hip-hop happenings or even some comical/interesting fellow passengers.
Back home while travelling in trains, whether you are travelling in Rajdhani or Shatabdi or whatever train you are boarding on. You would always be greeted on early mornings by the “Chaiwalhas” irrespective of your skin color, cast or religion. For him every one is, well, a customer only and he must sell his “Chai” to them.

Even if you try to sleep, covering your head, ear and yourself up well with your sheets/blankets or whatever you have for that matter, the typical sound they make while selling their tea “Chai- Chai”, will leave you craving for hot “Chai”. Such is the temptation that you will have to then reach out for your purse to search “Khuchro/phutkar/chiller” or cents/penny in English. A cup of “Chai” costs around Rs 10 these days may be.

And if you still manage to skip the temptation and have a little bit of sleep, the neighboring passenger would wake you up. And it’s the rule if you like early mornings make sure others don’t sleep late especially in trains.
And if you try to use the bathroom, don’t ever go near to it unless you are in dire needs. The sight of some pot-bellied gentleman brushing teeth will leave you, grumbling in tummy or even worse throw up. And even worse or good, worse for you and of course good for him, he will smile- 32 inch smile ,with all teeth out and say “Bahanji, aap pehle kar lein, hum baad mein brush karenge.” And this La Belle Femme would fume over for mentioning her as "Bahanji". And then she would generally hold back her strong emotions like "kadak chai ".And would generally give a feeble smile holding up semi-digested food in her mouth.
Children especially wake up early and try to sit near the windows. But then we were like that too when we were kids, isn’t?
When “Chaiwallahs” have taken the exit route from the narrow high way.Here comes another round of vendors’ selling peanuts, bhel and Jhaal muri wrapped in old news paper.

And yeah I warn you, don’t ever think about hygiene etc when you want to try out that spicy bhel or tempting jhaal muri they have to offer. Perhaps, one of the best, I have eaten bhel or jhaal muri is always on traveling in trains or perhaps just outside the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata or may be in the adjoining parks of India gate in Delhi. I tried to recreate that flavor many times in home, but I failed.
The entire journey would be one happening place and so many fascinating things will keep captivating your attention. Many of the fellow passengers would be busy playing cards. These days people can be seen sometimes working on laptops with back-ups and many of them listening to I-pods (India you have arrived well much before the commonwealth games). Some even try to face book and tweet through their Blackberries or Strawberries whatever...(See, I have been using these two social net-working sites as verbs, so you can imagine the impact these two have these days)
Well that was a small glimpse of a bygone era. Yeah, it seems ages here where I am sitting right now and typing these words. Some memories never fade away. They keep coming back to you.

Life is sometimes all about recalling all the memories that you have stacked in your mind.
 You stop for sometime, recall the past, pause for few moments, you cry or smile whatever and
Then shrug off and move on to cherish more ahead in life.
But you never live in past, and that’s the way it should be.

Alright then, now it’s the time for the recipe for the day
This is the season when pears are available here plenty. Now, you all know pears can be made into jams or jellies, or in cakes or muffins. Well, since the mood that I am in these days. I try to cook in jiffy.
Using the fruit in pancakes has always worked out well for me. Here you can see- Banana Pancake Cherry Banana pancake .

And now it’s the time for Pear pancake.
Recipe is very simple
Pear Pancakes

Recipe requirements and procedure
1 -2 pear preferably good quality and organics
1 cup of self raising flour
You can use plain flour but then don’t forget to add baking powder also then.
1 egg
About half cup of milk or enough to make the batter
1 tsp of vanilla essence
You can use cinnamon powder in place of vanilla essence for that cinnamon flavor.
Mash well pears wih fork, and then add egg, flour and milk.
Mix together all gently.
Heat up a heavy cast iron skillet/tava.
Drizzle some oil, rub well all over.
Now add 1 tsp-2 tsp of cooking oil.

Scoop out one full ladle of the batter and smear it well like small rounds.
Let the bubble form. Flip the side if you see bubble.
Cook another 2 mints.Each pancakes takes approx 3-4 mints at medium flame to cook.
Serve hot with butter or maple syrup or honey or even condensed milk.
About 1 cup of self raising flour makes approx medium size 5-7 pancakes.

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Happy cooking friends