Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Chingri Mach'er Malaikari ( Our Version ) -Prawns with coconut milk- চিংড়ি মাছের মালাইকারি

First month of a new year 2017, and even before I can realize, it’s about to wrap up fast. I haven’t briefed you all with New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.So, will write it all today. We went to central Kuala Lumpur and captured some of the beautiful moments through our smartphones. So below you will see couple of pics taken on 31st Dec 2016 capturing New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.

Welcoming 2017 

It was all crowded, decked up and people were enjoying rest of the hours that were left of 2016.

We also stopped by to the countdown to the New Year and watched fireworks lit up Kuala Lumpur skyline and Petronas towers.

Petronas Towers

Glowing and scattering its sheen in the dark, catching up moon’s natural light, Petronas tower looks magnificent in night light , shinning like a beautiful silver ornament.

There were other parts of street also decorated with glittering lighting.
And on 28th Jan, we observed here Chinese New Year-  this year  is ‘Rooster’ year.

Decorations in shopping malls during Chinese New Year

This also marks spring festival celebrations in Chinese communities. Irrespective of sects – Taoists, Confucians, Buddhist, Chinese people celebrate New Year where ever they are scattered in the world at this time. People flock back towards their home and re-unite with their families to observe Chinese New Year. Everyone celebrates by decorations with ‘duilian’ (a pair of scroll on which poetry is written) and giving red packets or ‘ang paow’ with money. 

Bright giant  Lanterns in shopping malls- mid-valley mall

Homes are decked up with bright lights and red lanterns. The whole atmosphere is all lit up with glorious red colour. The traditional dinner lines up on New Year’s Eve, and it’s very similar to ‘Thanks-giving’ celebrations in US.
All shopping malls are decorated. China town in Kuala Lumpur is a special buzzing place where one can see celebrations and also the Lion dance. Schools and offices, as usual are closed during these days in Malaysia.

A typical Cantonese Home on display- notice cycle at  corners

Now after all those introductions to Chinese New Year celebrations, it’s time to write about the recipe for today- Chingri Malaikari -Or prawns cooked with spices and coconut milk. There is a version of making it with ginger only and below is the version we make with onion+garlic+ginger+tomato paste.
Puritans would abstain from using tomato, as tomato in Bengali cuisine is a recent addition in making meat preparations. I don’t know much about ‘Ghoti’ version or ‘Bangal’ version, but this seems more to me a ‘Ghoti’ recipe. So, being a ‘Ghoti’ myself, I generally end up using sugar in the gravy. Now each variation, has its own charm and one should always follow what one likes to eat.

Here is how we make Chingri Malaikari with freshly grated coconut.

Chingri Malaikari (Prawns cooked with coconut milk) - Our way 

 চিংড়ি মাছের  মালাইকারি 

Recipe requirements

  •  600 Gms of XL shrimps or 10-12 prawns

  • ½ tsp of turmeric powder
  • Salt as per taste for marinating prawns
  •  1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp of red pepper powder
  •  1 ½ tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • ½ tsp of cardamom powder
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp of nutmeg powder
  •  1 tsp of sugar
  • 4-5 green chillies or 2-3 Thai red bird chillies
  • 2 and half cups of freshly grated coconut
  •  2-3 medium size onions
  • 4-5 fat cloves of garlic
  • Half inch ginger root
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 3-4 cloves
  •  2-3 green cardamoms
  • ½ inch cinnamon stick
  • 6-7  heaped tbs of mustard oil

Salt as per taste
 1 tsp of ghee

  • Cleaning shrimp/prawn is a tedious process.
  • Deshell all prawns or shrimp whatever you are using.
  • Keep the tail intact. Now if you want to keep the head, then do so, just take out the portions with eyes and tentacles. I am not that expert in cleaning head of big prawns (So, I ask fish-mongers in India to clean the head for me, and they are expert in cleaning the head. However here in KL, I do clean shrimp heads often and that is what generally I use for any chingri preparations)
  • There is a thread (actually it’s the vein of prawns which we need to discard) – darkish colour sometimes mud colour, which you have to take out. From the dorsal side make a cut in the one end near tail region– and take that thread out gently. After de-shelling and de-veining, clean prawns well in water.
  • Rub turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside in a bowl for 5-6 mints. Heat up a fry pan and shallow fry shrimps for about 2-3 mints at med-high or till they barely change colour. Take out and keep aside.
  • Now take 1 cup of freshly grated coconut and run through in mixer/grinder with 2 cups of water. Once all gets thoroughly grinded, add more water to it and filter out the coconut milk from its solids, squeeze the remaining coconut residues well to collect rest of the coconut milk. This will make our fresh coconut milk which we will be using in for the gravy.
  • Now chop onions, tomato, ginger and garlic finely.
  • Heat up a fry pan/kadai.Add in mustard oil.
  • Add in cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick.
  • Then add in finely chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Add in tomato pieces also.
  • Take all the spices (leaving behind cardamom+cinnamon+nutmeg powder) in a big bowl and mix in well with half a cup of water.
  • Add this spice mixture to the above and keep going stir/fry the whole things.
  • Add in tomato and sugar. Add in red Thai chillies slit in between. Add salt. Add in rest of the freshly grated coconut.
  • Now after 10-12 mints when all the spices, onions, ginger and garlic is properly fried. Take out and run through in mixer/grinder to make smooth spice paste.
  • Now add in bit of more mustard oil in the same pan and add in the above prepared paste, and fry through well. Adjust salt, sugar and hotness if required.
  • Now add in fried shrimp to the above and put the flame to low. Cover and let it cook for 7-8 mints.
  • Add in coconut milk and sprinkle cinnamon+cardamom+nutmeg powder or ‘garam masala’. Add in ghee at the end and cook further for 4-5 mints and take out chingri malaikari in a serving bowl. Enjoy with warm cooked rice.

Note- You can use a can of thick coconut milk. And also sometimes only ginger is added to make malaikari leaving onions+garlic+tomato.Please follow what ever you prefer in this recipe.

So tomorrow is Saraswati Puja.May Goddess Ma Saraswati bless us all with knowledge and wisdom. 

Shubho Basanta Panchami  - ''শুভ  বসন্ত  পঞ্চমী''  everyone.

Happy Cooking

Monday, January 23, 2017

Kolkata Diary - একটুকু ছোঁয়া লাগে একটুকু কথা শুনি

A visit to home city is incomplete if I don’t mention it here. This was one of those many visits which don’t need any preparations and planning. I was going to my home and visiting home doesn’t need any sort of invitation.
‘’Boro din’’ aka Christmas in Kolkata is a big festival. We were out one evening, a day before Christmas to get into the festive spirit this city has to offer. We went to Park Street, where all the buzz was centered. And what maddening rush, we came across there.The street was well regulated by traffic police.

It was sea of people and more people. We were literally walking like Penguins in waddle. And if someone gets lost there, a Hindi film- script writer can write a story revolving the separation caused by this maddening rush. Something like ….......
’’Park- Street ke Bheed mein bichde do bhai or bahan’’- (meaning is lost in translation).

Anyhow that is a different story, and our story is real. We were slowly absorbing the festivity. So many street hawkers selling various props, Christmas hats, face –masks, hair bands, and what not. Nobody can believe that almost all of them are non-Christians and they do celebrate Christmas like even Christians won’t celebrate in Europe. Total contrast as compared to western way of celebrating Christmas where people are mostly confided in their homes spending time with friends and family. And that’s the beauty of India lies- unity in diversity.
While, we were slowly moving and walking towards the other end of Park Street, dear daughter stopped at  iconic Oxford book store and purchased couple of story books from there.

We then went to Flurys to buy Christmas cake. The iconic Flurys was all decked up. There were many stalls selling different varieties of Christmas cakes.

Fruit cake, Red Currant and cranberries cake, date and walnut cake, plum cake etc. We picked date and walnut cake and while we were in queue to pay the bills, we happened to click few pics.

We even saw decorations throughout the city street while we were going to catch our flight back to KL.

 One more evening we went to Princep Ghaat, and were mesmerised by the sunset at Ganges.
The evening sky with all its colourful vigour, the magnificent Hooghly Bridge and river boats were painting a perfect sunset picture for us - misty and all dreamy.

Although we didn’t venture out for boat riding, but saw many couples going for boat rides. This time we noticed, boats were provided with life-jackets for passengers and a solar panel is installed on each boat hut to supply for the light in boat and we thought, whoever has planned this or came up with this idea, needs applause for that.

We had ice-cream cones from the street vendors selling ice-creams. While coming back to home, we stopped at 'Arsenal' to have our favourite biryani. This is something we always like to do – having biryani at 'Arsenals' is our must to-do-thing while visiting Kolkata... 

We had to queue up to get inside, but that’s not a problem at all for us. Biryani as usual was flavorful, fluffy and light and with nice aroma. We came back home tired with loads of memories for that day. 

Kolkata always surprises us with something new, although we were home-visiting but ended up being travellers there, exploring some new facets of life there.

This is it, we came back to KL, with all those splendid memories to cherish.

কথা ছিলো অনেক বলার , কিন্তু আজকে এই খানে  শেষ করলাম। ..............

We are also paying our sincere tribute To Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on his 120 th birth anniversary ..May his legacy inspire many more future generations.

See you all soon with a new recipe post. You all take care. Have a great week ahead.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ranga Aloor Pantua- রাঙ্গা আলুর পান্তুয়া and Happy Makar Sankranti

A new year 2017 and I am here, with my first blog post of the year. Hope you all had fantastic New Year celebrations.
We visited our home city Kolkata during these holiday break. And that requires a separate post I reserve for some other day.

I will share a dessert recipe to start off New Year blog post-‘ Ranga aloor pantua ‘- sweet potato dessert, is one such traditional Bengali sweet recipe. I have blogged about the recipe way back in past as well. Here- back in 2009 . This post is however a recipe which is re-visited and with couple of additions. 
This recipe is simple, as it doesn’t have coconut stuffing which makes it similar to ‘Ranga Aloor Pithe’. Since we are observing ‘Poush-Parbon’ these couple of days, I thought it would be appropriate to write about Ranga Aloor Pantua- pantua as like Gulab Jamuns in Hindi.

Sankranti celebration is a big affair in every Bengali home- some, even extending it to 3 –days celebrations. Each day is marked with various types of Puley/pithe being made. I have blogged many recipes for Sankranti …
This archived blog-post has all those traditional recipes which one can make during these period.
To the recipe

Ranga Aloor Pantua- Sweet Potato Gulab Jamun- রাঙ্গা  আলুর পান্তুয়া 

Recipe requirements

10-12 purple sweet potato
¼ cup of plain flour
2 pinch of baking soda
1 and ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
3 cups of granulated sugar
2 cups of water
½ tsp of cardamom powder
Cooking oil for deep fry 

  • Put a large saucepan with water and sugar on cooking.Add in cardamom powder. The water content should be reduced to half and the syrup will be slightly thick like to coat well the pantuas = gulab Jamuns.
  • Now pressure cook sweet potatoes. Take out , peel off the skin and let it cool a bit , so that you can work it through but don’t let it go cold otherwise it will be hard to mash up well.It would be nice if the mixture is lump free and smooth.
  • Now in a big mixing bowl, take the sweet potato pulp/mash, add in cinnamon powder.
  • Now mix in plain flour and pinches of baking soda, add flour to above mashed sweet potatoes, mixing in very well. Make small balls out of the dough.Be gentle in shaping these balls.
  • Put a heavy bottomed pan/kadai or deep frying pan to flames. Add in cooking oil, enough to deep fry these cute small balls.
  • Deep fry them for about 5-7 mints at medium-low flames or till they turn into nice brown in colour. Do not hurry this process otherwise they won’t cook well.
  • Transfer them all over kitchen towels, so that they absorb extra oil.
  • Now dunk them in sugar syrup and let the sugar syrup simmer slowly at low flame for couple of more minutes. Switch off the flame and cover.

Let it rest for about an hour. Serve and enjoy these delicious pantuas.

Some more Sankranti recipes

Till and Badam ki Mithai

Choshir payesh-on-sankranti

Dudh- Puli pithe

Again wish you all a very Happy  Makar Sankranti, Lohri, Pongal and Bihu.

Happy Cooking