Thursday, November 27, 2014

Grilled Trout and vegetables- Recipe with spices

Every home has their version of traditions. So, when I ask about or start imagining thanks giving traditions, every kitchen, every home and all the people associated with it, will have different stories to tell. And these stories makes memories, with these memories, traditions are passed on to next generations. If you are celebrating these thanks-giving traditions – then wish you and yours a Happy thank-giving and even if you are not, don’t stop yourselves from being thankful to God. Please count on the blessings, he has bestowed upon you, me and all of us.
Ours is also a family with many such stories. Take this story part out, and what you get here is a plain recipe post. I am sure when you visit a food blog; you always try to find something. And that “something” can be “anything” for most of you- a recipe, clearing any doubts, checking the ingredients list or method etc or may be sometimes a mention which makes you think, oh! Yes that’s how it has been made by us, or is happening with us, or we also have been there and done that. Or may be a completely new recipe, where you haven’t even heard of those exotic ingredients or a new recipe.Or may be a story which you can co-relate to.

Nevertheless, bottom line is everyone is looking for “something” and that something can be “anything”, just like all the traditions you have inherited or will create, it can lead to something or may be possibly anything.

Well, we do not follow thanks giving traditions in our home; it’s a completely new concept or a cultural euphoria for us. But yes, we do respect food and God. And with this, I would say we are thankful to God for providing us a shelter, food and water and the people who love and care for us.
Although, traditionally, turkey is made on thanks giving day, but I think we create our own traditions or memories as well. 
I have a grilled fish recipe for this occasion. I have used rainbow trout fish- a sweet fresh-water fish, for this recipe, but other fish like sea-bream or mackerel or may be sea bass can also be used for this recipe. Although in Mediterranean cuisine, they do like to grill fish with bare minimum things- like with olive oil,lemon juice,salt and some herbs, but, since we do need to satisfy our Indian taste bud. We have made a dry spice mix, which can be used as a great rubbing spice mix for the fish.
You may even add in other vegetables for grilling- like potatoes, cauliflowers, onions, sweet potato and bell peppers. The red ones are sweet and juicy. Or may some grilled asparagus as your sides. Fish are generally healthy options. Here is how we made grilled fish with spices.

 There we created our own tradition on thanks-giving and it’s known you can not separate fish from a Bengali.

Grilled Rainbow Trout with vegetables and spices
Recipe requirements
1 whole Rainbow trout fish
2-3 medium size potatoes
Cauliwer florets
1 lemon cut into half
3-4 fat cloves of garlic
For the dry rub spice mix
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder( optional) 
1 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of garlic powder
¼ tsp of ginger powder (sonth)
1 tsp of coriander powder
½ tsp of cumin powder
½ tsp of cinnamon powder
½ tsp of cardamom powder
½ tsp of Kashmiri red powder
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp of dried herb of your choice or mixed herbs like thyme/parsley/ kasoori methi etc

Clean the fish in running tap water. I have not used  the fish head; if you want you can include that as well. With the help of potato peeler, using the serrated sides of the peeler, de-scale the fish or use any other knife, stroking on the opposite direction to de-scale the fish.Make some marks with knife on the fish surface, just tearing the fish skin and some flesh underneath.

Now we will rub the dry spice mixture evenly on the surface of fish. Mix all the ingredients listed under dry rub spice mix- red pepper, cumin+coriander, garlic+ginger, cinnamon+cardamom powder etc. If you do not get dry powders for garlic and ginger, you can use fresh as well. Just grate them roughly and pat all over the fish surface. In place of cinnamon+cardamom powder, you may even use garam masala powder. There are even options of using garlic salt as well. You may use that also if it’s available to you.

Now after rubbing the dry rub spice mix, cover the fish with a aluminium foil, and keep it refrigerated.I have done a 24 hrs marination.The day I bought the fish, I rubbed the spice mix well and then kept it in the deep fridge .Then on next day, I took it out for grilling at least 3-4 hrs earlier to thaw the fish properly.
Now sprinkle about a tsp of lemon juice all over.

Now cut potatoes, and other vegetables of your choice. If you wish to use cauliflowers, potatoes, bell pepper, garlic, sweet potato etc then add in now. After cutting them in thick and chunky pieces, rub the spice mix powder on them also if you have some left-over, otherwise, simply use red pepper powder + any dried herb+salt. 
Set the oven at 190 deg C at grill mode/ in US it is broil mode.Or use stove-top skillet grill or cast-iron grill.But then spray some oil over the grill before you start grilling the fish.This gives a lovely charred look as well.
Now, prepare a baking tray, line up with foil, and put the fish in the middle rack.Generally this is what I like to do, otherwise you can put that on the top rack as well,if you want a lovely charred look then use a grilling tray for that matter.

If you want to add oil, then add in oil when you prepare the dry rub spice mix or half way through , flipping the sides of the grilled fish, just basting it with little oil.
Put the baking tray in the middle shelf, and grill the fish for 35-40 mints at 190 Deg C. Put a tray at the lower rack, in case there is some dripping.Half way through take the fish out, carefully flip the side and put it back into the oven.
Take out and let it rest for a while.
You can prepare any cold salad with it as well. How about a cole-slaw or a fresh corn mango salsa  for a change

And thanks for visiting here, all these past years.Happy Thanks-Giving friends.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Peyaj Posto - Onions cooked with white poppy seed paste

Now that I have written about our travel in my earlier post...I would like to take off my traveling boots as of now and change into the home-slippers, and perhaps start cooking food for us.
Posto or white poppy seed paste is an integral part of traditional Bengali cooking.This can be included in many stir/fry vegetable recipes and fish recipes as well.There is this chicken recipe – posto bata diye murgi , and also a notey shaak with posto bata..........
Today it’s peyaj posto for you all. The recipe is simple with white poppy seeds to make posto bata/poppy seed paste, well almost and of course onion. I would say please use purple onions not the white ones. As they do give nice sweetish taste to the over-all dish.

After, I thought of putting up this recipe, I gave Google a turn, yeah I always do, so that I can recommend some other recipes .Most of the recipes that are written in the net about peyaj posto, do not talk about tempering/phoron part of this stir/fry. I am amazed and puzzled, as a general rule one always does the phoron/tadka/tempering and then add vegetables in a stir/fry recipe. I called back my Ma just to confirm my doubt and asked if I am doing it any wrong way these past years. So, she told me tempering should be done either by adding Panch-phoron or Kalo jeerey as this is what she always had been doing in past. I sighed that I am not the only person who believes in tempering and phoron for this stir/fry recipe.
But likewise, any recipe is totally dependent on the cook, even after many attempts one can not reproduce a delicious and simple stir/fry recipe again and again, what ever they might have eaten somewhere, and sometimes all it takes is a single attempt, and it hits the “Bulls eye”….Bang there!!

Peyaj posto ( Onions with white poppy seed paste)
Recipe requirements
3-4 medium size onions
3-4 green chilies
1 tsp of nigella seeds/kalo jeerey/kalaunji
¾ tsp of salt or as per taste
3-4  heaped tbs of white poppy seeds or 50 gms of white poppy seeds.
2-3 whole cashews
4-5 tbs of mustard oil
¼ tsp of turmeric powder (optional)
½ tsp of red pepper powder
Soak white poppy seeds and cashews in water for about 2-3 hrs roughly. Now wet grind those in grinder with water and green chilies.Add in salt as per taste also. Add water in batches, just enough to rotate the grinder blades. We will adjust water later on while stir/frying the onions.
Now heat up a saucepan, add in cooking oil. Now add in nigella seeds/kalaunji/kalo jeerey.
Add in chopped onion juliennes. Add in salt as per taste. Onions shrink while frying so; keep an eye on the content of salt. Start from adding less salt and then taste, if required add more. And also the poppy seed paste already has salt in it. Keep on stir/fry the onions for 5-7 mints or till they shrink in size.
Now add in posto bata/poppy seed paste to the above stir/fried onions. If required splash little bit of water. Keep on stir/fry this paste with onions, till the paste starts to dry up and starts sticking to the onions. It will take little patience to do stir/fry at medium heat, but it’s worth it.

Take it off from the heat; posto peyaj is ready to be served. Now have it with warm cooked rice.

Happy Cooking Friends

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Let Me Take you Far Away- 2

We were on a short holiday to North Wales, and we are glad it turned out a surprise for us.This region has its own rich history and culture. I have loved picturesque and lovely South Wales particularly Gower Peninsula in this earlier post .This time we thought of going to North Wales. 

We were based in Conwy and had a chance to visit Llandudno, Bangor and Llanberis holiday resorts as well. The ruins of Conwy castle was intriguing, so was the smallest house in Conwy Quay.We even liked walking on the Conwy town walls that surrounded the entire Conwy City, something which is unheard of in present day context.I mean an entire city inside the walled area, to me it sounded  like a page out of those old fairy-tale books.I thought somebody has transported me to that authentic medieval era.

As we were visiting it on Sunday, there was a food festival with local food on display.We had Wales cakes and a salmon burger, salmon fish fillet was slowly smoked and then was put as a filing in between baps or may be something similar looking, but the flavor was amazing.I think I am going to make salmon burgers someday soon.

We were using public transport all the times, which involved little bit of planning but still doable if one wants to explore this way. The winter Sherpa bus ride from Bets-Y-Coed to Llanberis has breath-taking views, while you ride through; every turn that it takes leaves you in awe. There are many walks in between this journey as well, where you can hop-on /off, if one wants to explore the region while walking. And of course there is Snowdonia mountain railway in Llanberis if one wants to go mountain top using the cog-wheel train or even there is an option of exploring it by hiking which starts from Pen-Y-pass car park. Sherpa bus service also takes you to the Pen-Y-pass car-park, although my only regret is, this bus service is limited to 2-3 times a day.

Welsh are warm-hearted people and they sure do take pride in their own culture. The native language is different from English and once you start traveling in bus, you sometimes do get to hear some strange sounding words and language. So, Llandudno is pronounced as “Klan-Dudno” ……and so on...We were amazed and felt that we were visiting a totally different country all together. Great orme visit by Tramway was another interesting journey. This is very similar to San Francisco tramway that runs periodically in the city. As we had been to SFO before, we knew the similarity it has. But then the Great Orme visit was done on a windy day, and when I say windy day, I mean it. 

There we met some people, who made their way to the top all by walking and hiking, some were tired and told us the entire leg was very exhausting for them. No, we couldn't think of doing it, instead we thought tram is a better option for us. Lets’ see some day if we can pull it off.What ever way you choose, views on top are splendid.They even have a mini-golf course, in case you want to spend little bit more time.
Many greeted us on our way or when ever we need any advice about public transport, while we were out during our visit there. Some even went ahead and recommended us to visit local spots for history and culture. We were not aware about national slate museum in Llanberis, until we were recommended by gracious local people, who even showed another walking path towards Slate museum. It’s good to know little bit more about hard-working Welsh people and their ancestral history.

And there are many such creations which are revolutionizing as well, such as Menai Bridge near Bangor, which connects parts of the Northern Wales with Isle of Anglesey. Now that part we have left it for some other day. But this bridge had been made some 200 years ago and it’s one of world’s oldest suspension bridges.

 On one side is Parts of north Wales and on the other Isle of Anglesey.Our second Hooghly Bridge in Kolkata, is also a suspension bridge in case you want to know.

And when I write about Wales, it is compulsory to write about the breath-taking sea-beaches. This part is, I would say is blessed with beautiful sea-beaches. There is this view from our accommodation, sunset was beautiful to watch, almost had a calming effect on mind.

We also had similar experience in one of a coastal beach near Conwy.Now who wouldn’t love to spend some time over there, just sitting and lost in thoughts, surrounded with nature’s beauty. 

Wales thank you for making a memorable holiday for us.Hope to see you again someday........

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tinda ki Sukhi Sabzi with panch phoron and saboot masoor dal masala- Whole brown lentil dry stir/fry

We are into November? You would say am I asking or telling? Yes I know you all know it’s November, but it’s me who needs to confirm. Couple of days ago I heard a mention of “November Rain” some where...and from then it started echoing in my mind it’s November – it’s November. Well November reminds me, October is way past, it had come and gone- bye -bye .But then in October a significant history turning event was happening in my life. 
Now, I am telling you, not asking you .October meant festivals and togetherness, as we were away from our homeland then, feeling little sad that we missed out eating all those delicious festivals foods etc – I did wrote an absurd blog post just in half an hour and published it right here October 10th 2006, and then second right after two days here ,on this space which is now known to you as “Spice and Curry”, a blog name, which just came into my mind, right in a splash of moment out of no- where. 
I should say I have been here for 8 years , being sometimes active in updating this blog , some times passive- active( below normal updating) , sometimes active-active, I mean double active( super-action –packed updating) and sometimes total passive ( hibernating and sleeping).. ..But I tried to hang around here for 8 years, am I glad in doing it? Yes, absolutely!
Actually I should have wrote a big emotional  post on completing eight years of food blogging in October and blah blah but it looks like I missed the train, and I am not even a good runner like Geet aka Kareena Kapoor in “Jab We Met”, although, I liked the movie but that running part……

Anyways here I am with 8 years of food blogging and with lots of memories, especially food memories and blog post which I sometimes do go back and read, and wait, I guess may be I am not the only person reading those odd and absurd ,old posts. Sometimes I do get queries like this, this ,this and this …and many questioning the recipe like  this and this and then some appreciating the efforts like this and this ... and many more like these, makes my day, glowing and shining. Sometimes, I do read it aloud to dear hubby and also sometimes to my daughter who themselves have different opinions about these recipes…All in true spirits.

Anyhow, it gives me happiness coming here, writing and talking to you with recipes, pictures, food memories and our family memories, and I do hope you also share the same feeling. If you have been reading this far, may I ask you to drop few lines in comment section. As our leisure time slot is getting busy, but I do hope we shouldn’t stop doing things which gives happiness and spread happiness around us.
As  this blog is all about home-cooking  by a homemaker cum home-cook writing some of her recipes with food memories inter-woven.And home-cooked meal means simple stir/fry recipes that should accompany with rotis or rice, as that is what our main food is all about.

I have been cooking many vegetables and regular blog readers know that well and todays it’s tinda’s  turn.I was not sure what tinda is called in English or other languages  so goggled it and found that it’s Indian round gourd or apple gourd/Indian baby pumpkin in English.In Hindi it’s tinda or tinday ..Can anyone tell me other regional language names for tinda?
I am even tempted to add a whole brown lentil aka sabot masoor dal masala recipe as well.”Ek- ke- sath- ek- free” types of offer as its blog anniversary, sorry belated blog anniversary.We like the dry stir/fry preparation of whole brown lentils, and I don’t need to add the nutritious food values whole lentils are loaded with.
I know you all will be thinking where that cake slice or that sweet is. I will say, save it for some other day, soon it will be December, and you will find them everywhere in food blogosphere. As of now, it’s a tinda recipe and whole masoor dal /brown lentil recipe for you.

Tinda ki Sukhi sabzi with panch phoron
Recipe requirements
Serves – 3-4
About 500 Gms of tinda or large 3-4 /medium size 5-6 tinda-tinday
2 medium size potatoes
Half medium size tomato-or 6-7 cherry tomatoes
1 cup of green peas
½ tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red pepper powder
½ tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp of panch phoron/or cumin seeds
Pinch of hing/asfoetida
2-3 dry red peppers
Salt as per taste
3-4 tbs of cooking oil- mustard oil or sunflower oil
Cut tinda and potatoes in cubes. Wash them in water well.
Now heat up a pan, add in cooking oil.
Now add in panch phoron, pinch of hing and dry red peppers. After half a minute later, add in cubed tinda, potatoes and green peas. Keep on stir/frying for about 7-8 mints. Add in dry seasonings-turmeric powder,red pepper powder and salt.
Now add in finely chopped tomatoes, and two ladles full of water. Cover the pan, and let it cook at medium flame for about 10-12 mints.
When potatoes are soft, with the help of the ladle, just mash and mix the potatoes with tinda.If you don’t want to mash and mix, leave them as it is. Sprinkle cumin powder now and mix.
Sprinkle dhaniya patta/coriander leaves. Take it off from cooking further.
A simple sabzi is ready to go well with rotis.

Saboot Masoor dal masala – whole brown lentils dry stir/fry
Recipe requirements ( serves 4)
2 cups of whole masoor dal/brown lentils
3 tsp of grated ginger
3 tsp of grated garlic
1 medium size onion chopped finely
1 medium size tomato
1 tsp of coriander powder
½ tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
 1tsp of garam masala
5-6 tbs of cooking oil
½ tsp of cumin seeds
½ tsp of fennel seeds
1 tsp of ghee
Soak whole brown lentils in enough water for about 3-4 hrs. Discard the water.
Now heat up a pan/kadai/wok. Add in cooking oil, add in cumin seeds and fennel seeds, stir/fry them till they just starts to swell.
Now add in finely chopped onions, grated ginger+garlic and keep on stir/fry for 4-5 mints.
Add in salt and all the dry ingredients- red pepper, turmeric, coriander-cumin powder and salt. Coat well with the spices.
Add in soaked whole brown lentils and keep on stir/fry for 4-5 mints at medium flame.
Add in about a cup of water. Cover the pan/kadai/wok and let it cook for 15-18 mints at medium-low flame. Add in finely chopped tomatoes and garam masala.Check in between if they are cooked or not and if still needs to be cooked then add in ½ cup of warm water again if the water has dried up and cook for 8-10 mints.

When the lentils are cooked and the water has dried, take it off from the flame.Add in ghee now and sprinkle chopped herbs of your choice and enjoy. Alternately you can use pressure cooker to cook whole brown lentils, just one whistle at high and lower the flame and let it cook 4-5 mints. Take it off and when the pressure inside pressure cooker subsides, open the pressure cooker lid. And then temper it with the masala- spice that you prepare separately.Have it with rotis.And in case you crave for gravies with dal , then increase seasoning contents and add more water to make gravies, but then that's another recipe.

Happy Cooking and have a relaxing weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Home-made pizza recipe

The colourful autumn season is upon us and this brings such vibrancy to our monotonous routine over here. A leisure stroll into the parks and you are surrounded with such vibrant and colorful display. Sometimes, all you need is these little moments, moments where you can rejuvenate yourselves.
Time to bounce back to activity as with fall season, many recipes need to be tried and tasted. Baking and then of course soup preparations are all lined up these past days in our home. How about your home? What recipes you have been cooking this fall season?

It’s almost weekend so thought of posting a home-made pizza recipe. This pizza recipe had been our escape-route, when ever we don’t feel like going for the take-away pizza. And in due course of time, we have almost stopped doing pizza take-always these days. But, then when you have this craving for cheesy pizza, mid-week or weakened is just an excuse, right?
For us when it’s a pizza day, that means it’s a family day as we all work together, kneading the dough, chopping the vegetables and choosing the toppings. My dear husband and dear daughter- duo also equally share responsibility in making the pizza that day.Ok that’s another excuse for a laid –back time off for me.
This recipe has worked well for us many times. This has been worked and tweaked many times, as with the use of making with white bread flour, whole wheat; plain-flour etc, all resulted in different types of pizza dough recipes. But what worked best is the use of self raising flour mixed with fine semolina flour. I really liked the tip of adding semolina to the pizza dough as suggested by Jamie Oliver in his website as this gives a brilliant texture to the usual pizza dough. But from then onwards this pizza dough recipe has been modified with self raising flour. I am sure with bread flour it will be little different.

Anyways, this is our recipe now as we only make the pizza dough with self raising and semolina flour mixture but the toppings keeps on changing, even the flavouring part as well. Some days it’s chicken tikka flavor, and some days it has Caribbean influence.And even some days we see ourselves having veggie pizza with mushroom,bell peppers, onion and even asparagus.

Here is how we made the pizza dough recipe
Home-Made Pizza with Caribbean Flavour
Recipe Requirements
12 oz or 1 and ½ cups of self raising flour
4 oz or ½ cup of fine semolina
½ tsp of salt or as per taste
2 tsp of oil
2 tsp of sugar
3 tsp of active dried yeast
Lukewarm water about a cup or as per needed for kneading
For the toppings of the pizza
1 cup of sliced Jamaican Jerk Chicken pieces- recipe is Over Here
About 1 cup of chopped mushroom
½ cup of chopped onions
2-3 West Indian red pepper sliced
Any other vegetables of your choice
3-4 heaped tbs of any pasta sauce
 2 cups of mozzarella cheese or pizza cheese
In a big mixing bowl – mix in self raising flour+fine semolina. Make a well in the centre and now we will add salt, sugar and oil. Add in active dry yeast and mix well. No need to prepare the yeast separately.
Now with the help of Luke-warm water, start mixing in the dry ingredients and knead till it starts to come together well.
Keep this dough covered with a damp cloth for about 2-3 hrs to rise and puff up. Don’t worry if it turns out sticky or very soft.
After about 3 hrs when you see the dough has puffed up well or technically have risen well.
Then on clean and spacious surface sprinkle enough self raising flour, start kneading the dough on this, about 15-20 mints. The hands motion should be going outside while pressing the dough to flatten it and then roll back the dough. Repeat the process and keep on kneading this way. If required sprinkle more flour so that it doesn't gets sticky.
After a while of kneading the pizza dough, you will see the dough starts to collect well and the stickiness is gone, also the dough turned soft and smooth. Now press a finger tip over the dough, it should feel soft and smooth, the pizza dough is almost ready.
Keep this further resting for about 1 hr. Now divide this into two equal portions.You can increase the flour quantity to make 4 portions as well.
Now while the dough is resting, cut and chop the desired vegetable as toppings.
Roll the dough at least about at the time when you are ready to eat it about half an hour just before that. As the baking time is roughly 15 mints and also the preparation time is 10-12 mints.
Roll out into a flat sphere considering the width you want for your pizza base and smear pasta sauce; any pasta sauce. Place chopped vegetables over it. I have used West Indian red pepper which has a very fiery hot flavor as toppings for that Caribbean influence.
Now preheat an oven at 190 deg C. Bake the pizza for about 6-7 mints. Take it out and sprinkle generous amount of mozzarella cheese over it and again bake it for 7-8 mints. Take out and have it.
You can even make the dough in bulk and store in deep fridge. And when you are ready to eat, then take it out and allow it thaw for about 1-2 hrs, then roll and add your preferred toppings and bake.

Enjoy your weekend with home-made pizza recipe.

Happy Cooking Friends