Saturday, October 26, 2019

Chocolate Pistachio Oats Bars and Happy Diwali

Festival season brings loads of memories of our childhood days. And being away from home means, it’s even more noticeable and felt. 

The smaller things which we took granted while growing up, resurfaces with intense feeling of recreating them in my kitchen. My Ma used to make namkins and sweets during festivals and these things which went unnoticed during those days, suddenly makes sense to me now, when I myself have started to make them from scratch these days. The preparation for festivals itself was a daunting affair but a very memorable experience for each one of us. The small nitty-gritty associated with festivals added up to the much-awaited festival days. 

The Diyas, we used to soak in water the night before Deepawali, and then would sundry next day morning, to be preparing them to light up on Deepawali- the ‘Amavasya’ night. The kitchen used to smell of various sweet aromas infused with desi ghee and the atmosphere around our neighborhood was filled with various sweet and savory aromas coming from neighboring kitchens and homes as well. We used to distribute sweets in our neighborhood and would look forward to the various goodies that used to come from our neighbors and well-wishers very eagerly. 

Deepawali is festival of lights, so diyas, candles and light bulbs were part of every homes, that used to celebrate Deepawali. Let me wish everyone a happy Diwali, may festival of light brings good health, happiness and prosperity to you and to your family.
There are loads of other things which suddenly sprung up in my mind, but I will like to reserve those for some other days.
I wanted to make each one of us notice the festivity, so made batches of Besan Laddos and Kaju Katlis and these Chocolate Pistachio Oats bars and send them over to dear daughter’s school friends and better half’s Deepawali celebrations in his office. Soon it will be Halloween as well and schools over here have closed for half term break, much needed solace from daily routine.

Now to the recipe for this post
Chocolate Pistachio Oats bars 
Recipe requirements ( Makes 40 bars approx )
  • Quick Oats- 3/4 cup
  • 1 bar chocolate ( 150 Gms of 35% chocolate )
  • 1 cup of shelled and chopped pistachios+ ¼ cup more for garnishing (finely chopped and crushed) 
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of milk powder
  • 1 can condensed milk+ 2 tbs of milk
  • 3-4 tsp of ghee/clarified butter

  • Dry roast flour and oats for about 5-6 mints at medium flame or till the rawness is gone.
  • Take out in a separate bowl. Mix together well.
  • Now in the same pan, add in chocolate chunks and milk. Melt chocolate at low flame, stirring continuously. Take it off from the flame when some of the chocolate chunks starts to melt. You can microwave it also. Trick is not to burn the chocolate.
  • Add in condensed milk now. Mix well and add milk powder as well. Transfer the pan over to flame now.
  • Keep on stirring, the mixture will start to become more like a liquid consistency.
  • At this time add in flour and oats slowly about half a cup at a time, stirring continuously. Do not stop mixing the mixture.
  • Meanwhile grease a tray or plate with about 2 tsp of ghee.I ended up using 2 roasting trays.
  • Keep on stirring for about 7-8 mints, the content will start to collect well. Transfer the content to the prepared tin and even out the surface with the help of your hands or spoons.
  • Let it cool off a bit before you cut them into squares. Let it cool off and then transfer it to refrigerator. You can directly eat from fridge. These bars will remain fresh for about a week if kept in fridge.

Happy Cooking Friends and Have a Happy Diwali !!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Chicken Dry Curry- Murgir Makha-Makha Jhaal

The leaf of every tree, brings message
From the unseen world, look every
falling leaf is a blessing
-          Rumi

Past couple of days, its raining here, sometimes persistent and sometimes intermittent. We are observing sudden drop in temperatures in the mornings and evenings. If it rains the weather becomes cold and soggy which is typical of autumn season in this part of the world. 

Although, fall season has an enticing aura and grandeur. Each and every falling leaf has a beauty of its own. I was strolling out, in one of our local parks and tried to capture some moments with my mobile.

And also, this blog has turned 13. Thirteen long years have passed, when I first wrote a random blogpost in blogger in 2006.It feels nice to be connected to my readers, who have subscribed the blog posts and feeds.
Although, I am not that active in using other social media platforms, this blog still has some loyal readers. I must thank them and new readers for coming back here for recipes and more for years now.

Now to the recipe for todays post- chicken curry. I would not want to label this as curry. But I fail to come up with exact replica for ‘makha-makha jhal’ in English. I have taken some liberty in naming this dish chicken dry curry. I have used ajwain/carom seeds for making this dry curry, although it’s not the only ingredient, which I would like to highlight.
Although must admit ajwain/carom seeds being a digestive enhancer helps in balancing off the richness of the gravy that comes with walnuts and all whole garam masala ingredients.
The use of freshly grounded spices like mace, cloves and cardamom has infused much aroma to the gravy. The gravy was done in slow stir/fry type.
This is a work of patience, as you need to pound and grind the spices for a lovely aroma, which adds up to the gravy. I took the pictures with my mobile as usual. Hope, it justifies the texture of the gravy.

Now to the recipe.

Chicken Dry Curry- Murgir Makha-Makha Jhaal
Recipe requirements
  • Chicken – 1kg
  • 4 medium size onions
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • ½ inch ginger
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 2-3 medium size potato cut into half
  • 5-6 walnuts
  • ¼ cup of raisins

  • 1 tsp of red pepper powder
  • 2 tsp of coriander powder
  • salt as per taste or 1 tsp 
  • 5-6 tbs of cooking oil 

To be freshly grounded
  • 2 tsp of whole black pepper
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 4-5 green cardamom
  • Few strands of mace
  • ¼ tsp of carom seeds
  • Wash and clean chicken pieces thoroughly. I have used 4 leg-sides portions for this curry which makes approx 1 kg of chicken.
  • In a food processor or mixer/grinder, grind onions, garlic, ginger, walnuts, raisins, tomato and green chillies to a smooth paste.
  • Now heat up a heavy bottomed fry pan, add cooking oil.
  • Add in the prepared paste, add in salt, turmeric powder, red pepper powder and coriander powder and keep on stir/fry for 10-15 mints.
  • Meanwhile in a mortar/pestle, dry grind- carom seeds, cloves, cardamom, whole black pepper and mace.
  • Now add in cut potatoes to the above. Add the dry grinded masala powder now.
  • Keep on stir/frying for about 5-7 mints more. 
  • Now cover the pan and let it cook. Do not add water, if you want a dry gravy with it. Lower the flame and let it slowly cook in its own juices and all spices for about 30 -35 mints or till all the chicken pieces turns soft and cooked through well.

Happy Cooking Friends

Friday, October 11, 2019

Orange Avocado and Mint Salad

Now that Ma Durga has gone back to Shiva’s abode with her children, leaving behind us with heavy hearts, the routine life for most of us has started whether you are living in New York, London or Kolkata or for that matter, any part of the world. Each and every year, we so look forward to spent these 4-5 days with loads of enthusiasm and zeal. But once those days are spent, the longing to spend, few more days keeps on coming back. I haven’t yet wished Vijayadashami to my readers. Let me wish everyone a Shobha Bijoya and Happy Dussehra.

I have been receiving few messages for Bijoya and Dussehra greetings. Couple of them got my attention, so thought its worth mentioning here. Dussehra festival is celebrated in India and abroad by Hindu people and it’s a very inclusive festival, where everyone is encouraged to participate and celebrate irrespective of their choice of religions. The community food distribution during these days is open to all sects of the society, where ever you can go and join in. The ethos implies in ‘Vasudhev Kutumba-kum’ in Sanskrit meaning -"Entire cosmos is our family". 

In today’s context Dussehra implies in these few lines.
The demon is always within.
The Goddess is always within.
The battle too, is always within.
And so is the triumph of one, over the other.
Which one, over which one?
That choice is also, somehow always within.”
Everyone is capable of making good choices for themselves, no matter how much adverse circumstances can be. As The headmaster of a wizard world ‘Hogwarts’- Albus Dumbledore once said to Harry Potter in the famous Book- Chamber of Secrets.
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” The choices made by us defines our personalities as well.

Now to the recipe for this post- Orange Avocado and mint salad. We have been getting fresh oranges over here and since autumn and oranges go hand in hand, thought let me share a very simple salad recipe. After eating out all sorts of rich and festive food items, now its time to detox a bit. This salad is healthy and very diabetic friendly recipe. It is also good for people who wants to keep a watch on their blood pressure levels.
Now to the recipe
Orange Avocado and Mint salad
Recipe requirements
  • 2-3 oranges
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1cup of mint leaves
  • ½ cup of grated paneer
  • For dressing
  • 1-2 tsp of olive oil
  • Salt as per taste
  •  ¼ tsp of Crushed black pepper

  • Peel oranges and separate pieces. Cut and chop avocado, carrot into bite size pieces. Separate mint leaves from its twigs.
  • In a big salad bowl, put all the above – oranges, avocado, carrot and mint leaves.
  • Now grate a big block of paneer to get about a quarter cup.Add to the salad bowl.
  • Now add in olive oil and seasonings- salt and freshly crushed black pepper.
  • You can add red chilly flakes for an extra kick in the salad.
  • Tip- to make it even more filling, can add cooked black beans or rajma as well.

Happy Cooking Friends 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Chicken Cutlets

Autumn invokes warmth and the familiarity associated with festivity. With harvest festival Halloween end of this month in western hemisphere and in other part of the hemisphere Navaratri and Deepawali in tows, autumn season has become even more happening and beautiful.

Next four days are very busy for every Bengali as its Durga Pujo.
Let me wish everyone Shubh Navaratri and Happy Durga Pujo. Enjoy and celebrate with good food in good company.
These chicken cutlets have turned out delicious and you can try out making them. These are great as starters and makes great accompaniment with Pulao and Korma.
More Durga Pujo recipes over Here.

Now to the recipe

Chicken Cutlets

Recipe Requirements
  • Roasted chicken- ( recipe link )300 gms
  • 1 big purple onion
  • 5-6 green chillies
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped coriander leaves
  • Spices and seasoning
  • 2 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  •  1 tsp of garam masala
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
  •  2 tsp of red pepper powder
  • 2 tsp of freshly grounded black pepper
  • ½ tsp of ajwain (carom) seeds
  • 1 tsp of salt or as per taste
  •  2-3 tbs of cooking oil for pan frying
  • Chop onion, garlic and green chillies.
  • Take roasted chicken in a bowl. Add all of the chopped onions, garlic and green chillies into it.
  • Add salt, red pepper powder, coriander powder, garam masala and freshly grounded black pepper, cinnamon powder and cumin powder. Add in finely chopped coriander leaves.Mix them well with hands.
  • Refrigerate the mixture for about an hour so that the mixture gets firmer and it will be easy to shape up patties. Divide the mixture into 5-6 portions and shape them like patties.
  • Put a non-stick tava/skillet on flame at medium flame.
  • Drop about a tsp of oil. Tava fry them for about 3-4 mints at medium flame have a nice dark brown crust.
  • Take out and serve.
Happy Cooking Friends. And Sobaike Sharodiya Shubecha-  শারদীয়া শুভেচ্ছা  ও প্রীতি সবাইকে। পুজো খুব ভালো কাটোগ সবাইকার। Happy Durga Pujo !!