Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chole Gosth

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Generally I make Chole Gosth when I have little left over meat. Not enough for everyone at home but at the same time the folks want to eat something non-vegetarian. It’s like cheating a little bit, but not really because it tastes awesome (if I may say so myself Smile).

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. mutton cut into medium pieces on bone
  • 1/2 lb. chickpeas soaked overnight
  • 2 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 5-6 green chilies
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp. red chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. chole masala
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp. oil
  • Handful of freshly chopped cilantro for garnishing

Procedure

In a pressure cooker take soaked chole and add 2 cups of water along with a pinch of salt. Cook till two whistles come. Let the pressure settle down on its own. Open the lid and transfer the chole in some other container. Keep an eye not to overcook them. They should retain their shape.

Add 4 tbsp. oil in the pressure cooker and add chopped onions. Fry on low heat till you can see the edges turn brown. Add mutton pieces to it and fry them along with onions on medium heat till the meat takes a light brown hue. Add tomatoes, green chilies, ginger garlic paste. Sprinkle cumin powder, chili powder,chole masala, salt and sugar. Sauté on medium flame till the oil starts getting separated from the edges.

Pour half a cup of water and give a nice mix. Close the pressure cooker and cook the mutton on medium heat for 15 minutes. Let the pressure release on it own. Open the lid add add the boiled chick peas to it.

Mix once again and allow them to simmer together on low heat till you have a thick gravy.Turn off the heat.

Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and green chilies.

Serve with Naan, chapathi or Paranthas.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sahi Mutton Chanp

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Southern Amenia, a famous restaurant in Golpark, Kolkata served a different kind of Chaap. It differed from the traditional Kolkata Chaap in being a bit mellow. When we were in college we used to love frequenting Southen Amenia just for this Sahi Chaap. Unfortunately worker dispute lead to it’s closure. Some of the workers even started making it on their own and selling it from a shack right outside the Amenia building. Now that all remnants of it has disappeared I have to make it for myself. Hope you enjoy it as well.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb. mutton chops
  • 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
  • 7-8 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2-3 dry red chili
  • 4 tbsp. thick plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder 
  • 8-10 almonds blanched and peeled
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground Bengali garam masala
  • 1 tsp. rose water 
  • 2 tbsp. ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 2 tbsp. oil 
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

Make a smooth paste of almond with milk and reserve it for later use.

You need to get mutton (goat meat) chop pieces to make chaap. In Kolkata you can just let the butcher know and he will make the chops ready for you. Outside your homeland, you need to specifically instruct the butcher to break the chops with the broad side of their flat knife. Otherwise use your metal meat tenderizer to flatten the chops.

Heat 1 tbsp. ghee in a pan till it melts. Now add chopped onion, sliced ginger and crushed garlic to it. Fry on medium heat till the onions start getting a golden brown hue. Turn off the heat and let them cool down to room temperature.

Now add the fried spices to a grinder and make a smooth paste of them with a spoon of yogurt.

Wash the chops and pat them dry.In a mixing bowl mix yogurt with the onion, ginger, garlic paste and red chili powder. Season the mixture with salt.

Rub this spice mixture well on both sides of the chops. Allow it to rest for half an hour.

Heat oil in a wide frying pan till it melts. Now reduce the heat and temper it whole dry red chilies. Arrange the mutton chops in a single layer. Cook it covered on very low heat for about 45 minutes.  Frequently remove the cover and mix the spices. Fry the chops till you can see that the oil gets separated from the rest of the spices.

Now add almond paste to it and cook for another five minutes on low heat.

Sprinkle rose water and garam masala powder over it. Drizzle one spoon of ghee and keep it covered till you serve. Enjoy with Biryani or laccha paratha.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pish pash

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Living in the Pacific Northwest I am used to rain. Unlike others I never grow tired of it. After a spell of hectic summer schedule I loved when rain decided to return to our evergreen state. The parched trees and my mind welcomed it. I decided to just soak it in and be a bit lazy. But I also wanted to provide something warm for everyone’s plate. Pish pash works wonders in these scenarios. It’s an Anglo-Indian one pot meal, where rice is cooked with Indian whole spices, meat, veggies and potatoes. It is primarily flavored with Ginger.

As the name suggests it’s a medley and you can play with what you decide to put in it, chicken works equally well as mutton or goat meat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain rice washed and drained
  • 500 gm. medium sized mutton pieces on bone
  • 1 onion cut into medium sized chunks
  • 2 medium sized potato cut into quarters
  • 2 cm. square of ginger cut into thin square slices
  • 1/2 cup green peas (I used frozen)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. refined oil
  • For tempering
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1” cinnamon stick
    • 2 green cardamom pods
    • 2 cloves
  • For garnishing
    • 1 medium sized onion thinly sliced
    • 8-10 cloves garlic cut into round slices
    • 5-6 dry red chilies

Procedure

Heat oil and add onion chunks and potato pieces to it. Sauté on medium heat for two to three minutes and then remove them and keep aside.

To the same oil add ingredients listed under tempering. When the spices starts sizzling add mutton pieces to it and sear the for a minute or two. Add salt and 4 cups of water. Pressure cook till the meat is tender. When the pressure releases on its own remove the lid.

Add washed and drain rice to it along with the sautéed onion and potato. Season with salt. Add enough water so that there is 5 fingers of water left above the rice mixture level. Mix well and cook it covered on medium heat till the rice is cooked and mushy.

By this time heat butter in a pan and fry the red chilies and garlic slices till they turn crispy. Remove them on a paper towel. Use the remaining butter to crisp fry the onion slices.

Take a ladle full of pish pash and top it up with the crispy fried red chilies, onion and garlic. Best enjoyed on a lazy rainy night. 

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Peas or Koraishutir Kochuri

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Peas Puri or Koraishutir Kochuri as bongs call it is brings on fond memory of Kolkata. It reminds me of the freezing 60°F (15°C) winters in Kolkata. It’s during that time fresh green peas hit the local market. The kids in the house were given the chore of taking the peas out of their pods. The yield rates were around 50%, the other 50% were stuffed in the mouths with small little hands.

These days in the world of frozen goodies, the famed Koraishutir Kochuri can be made any time of the year, all that is needed is a short trip to the local store. 

Ingredients

  1. Frozen peas-1 cup (preferably the fresh ones, or else frozen peas will do)
  2. Ginger-1 inch
  3. Green Chili –2
  4. Asfoetida / Asafetida / hing – 1pinch
  5. Dry roasted cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
  6. Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
  7. All purpose flour (maida) – 2 cup
  8. salt- 1 teaspoon
  9. White oil or ghee(clarified butter) -2 tb spoon
  10. Warm water - 1/2 cup
  11. Dry flour for rolling the paratha – as required

Procedure

In a grinder add a little water, peas, ginger and green chili. Make a fine paste out of IMG_7367them.

Take oil in a frying pan. Add one pinch of asfoetida. Now add the paste you just made. Keep on stirring till the water completely evaporates and the pea mixture becomes dry and thick enough to make small balls out of it. Now add salt to your taste and if the peas are not sweet enough you can add little sugar to it. Let it cool and then sprinkle some dry roasted cumin powder.

IMG_7370Now we need to make the dough. In a wide vessel take the flour, salt and the oil or ghee for shortening. Rub the ghee into the flour with your finger tips. Now slowly add the warm water and knead it until the dough becomes soft and smooth. Cover it with a damp cloth or kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. Once again knead it and make small ping pong sized ball out of it.

Take a ball you made out from the flour and keep it on your palm. Using the other IMG_7371palm press it and make a small disc. You can also use your rolling pin to make this disc. Make a small ball out of your pea stuffing and put it in the center of the disc.  Bring the sides together and cover the opening. Now flatten it with your palm.

Roll out by applying little oil on both the sides.

IMG_7373Take oil in a wok or kadai and heat it. Deep fry the kochuri till both sides puff up.

Traditionally koraishutir kochuri is had with chana dal or potato curry (aloor dum). However, this time when I made it we had some home made mango chutney from my Tamil friends, it made a killer combo.

Healthy option

If you are like me and need to take care of someone who is prone to over-eat you can take the healthier option of making Peas Paratha.

The stuffing is made exactly the same way. For the dough replace with whole wheat flour. While rolling out the dough use more dough to create larger parathas. Also the dip-fry step is omitted in the Paratha. Heat a tawa or a skillet. Place the paratha on the heated tawa and cook for half a minute. Now flip the other side and pour oil with a spoon around the edge. Cook this side and flip again. You will notice brown spots on the surfaces  when the paratha is cooked.

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Semiya Kheer

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Eid Mubarak to all my friends celebrating Eid today. Hope you have been having your fill of Kheer or Payesh at the end of iftar parties. Here goes my recipe for Semiya Kheer that I like to serve as dessert at the end of a heavy traditional Bengali meal.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vermicelli
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 3-4 tbsp. mixed dry fruits (Cashew, Raisin, Pistachio)
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom Powder
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • Pinch of saffron

Procedure

In a heavy bottom pan take milk and let it come to a boil. Once it starts boiling lower the heat and keep stirring it till it reduces to about 3 cups.

In a non stick pan heat ghee till it melts. Add cashew and raisins to it and fry on low flame till the nuts take a golden brown color. Remove and set aside.

Add vermicelli to the same pan and roast it on medium flame with the remaining ghee until turns golden brown.

Add roasted vermicelli and half of the dry fruits to the reduced milk. Cook on medium heat until the vermicelli is cooked.

Add sugar to it. The milk will become thinner immediately after you add sugar. Keep it simmering till you get the previous consistency. Turn off the heat and add cardamom powder to it. Stir well.

I like my kheer hot directly from the stove. You can go ahead and chill it in refrigerator. Garnish with rest of the dry fruits and saffron.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Murg Masur Pulao

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Eid Mubarak to all my friends who are celebrating Eid tomorrow. Hope you are filling to your brim at the Iftar parties.

When I was a college student, one of my friends Shama used to bring Murg Masur Pulao to the class just after Eid. It would come in a huge container and in no time disappear. I have no idea where Shama is today, but I hope she is doing well and still enjoys this great dish. Thanks to the fantastic pulao I am thinking of her from another corner of the world.

Ingredients

  • 500 gm. bone in chicken cut into medium pieces
  • 2 and 1/2 cup long grain Basmamti rice washed and soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 1 cup Masoor (Red lentil with skin) washed and soaked for 2 hours
  • 2 medium potatoes cut into quarters
  • 2 large onions thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes cut into round thin slices
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder
  • Whole garam masala ( 2 black cardamom, 4 green cardamom, 1” cinnamon stick, 5 cloves, 1 tp. shahi jeera)
  • 1 bunch fresh fenugreek (methi) leaves finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp. mint leaves
  • 4 tbsp. chopped cilantro or coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste                 
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • Few Saffron strands 
  • Few drops Kewra water

Procedure

In a heavy bottom pan heat oil and add onion slices to it. Fry till golden brown. Remove half of the fried onion on a paper towel and reserve for later use.

In the rest of the onion add ginger garlic paste, and chili powder. Sauté till the raw smell subsides. Now add chopped fenugreek leaves and tomato slices to it. sprinkle coriander and cumin powder. Fry till the moisture dries up.

Add chicken pieces to it and fry well so that the meat pieces are nicely coated with spices. Add salt and cook it covered till the meat is tender.

Now add potato quarter to it and fry along with the meat for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala powder and keep it covered. Add yogurt to it and cook till chicken and potatoes are tender.

In a separate pan boil the soaked lentil with salt till cooked. Take care so that they retain their shape.

In a large pan boil enough water with salt and whole garam masala and add soaked rice to it. Boil till the rice is 90% done. Drain the water.

Soak saffron strands in warm milk and keep aside.  

For layering in a large pan take half of the rice. Lay evenly the chicken and potato mixture with the lentils on top. Add chopped cilantro, mint and slit green chilies over it. Add  half of the golden brown onions.

For the top layer spread evenly the remaining rice. sprinkle saffron milk over it. Top it up with the rest of the chopped mint, cilantro and green chilies.

Finish it up with the rest of the golden onions and kewra water. 

Place this pan covered on the lowest mark of heat for 30 minutes.

Dish out and serve it with raita.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Malai Chum - chum

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This recipe took a long time to get published as I just didn’t get time over the holidays. A lot of friends has been asking me for it and finally it’s here. Sorry for the delay. I made this over Diwali for my Husband’s office Diwali get-together. Indian folks in his office were supposed to bring in a dish each, I decided to go with traditional Bengali sweets which is famous across India. I chose Malai chumchum as it is popular for its mild sweetness and silky soft texture.

Ingredients For Chaana

  1. 8 cups whole milk
  2. 1tsp. saffron
  3. 1/2 cup vinegar diluted in 1/2 cup water

Ingredients For Sugar syrup

  1. 4cups of sugar
  2. 10 cups of water

Procedure Of Making Chaana

In a heavy bottom pan take the milk and bring it to a boil. Optionally you can use saffron in the milk to give the chum chum a rich color, or omit it for clear white chum chums. If you choose to use saffron you will see within few minutes it will start releasing its color. Once it starts boiling reduce the heat and slowly pour diluted vinegar to it while stirring the milk.

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Soon the milk will start curdling. It means the milk solids will be separated from the watery whey.IMG_6386Now strain the milk mixture on a colander lined by a cheese cloth.IMG_6390

Rinse the milk solids with fresh running water to remove any residual acidity.

Wrap the cheesecloth around itself to squeeze out moisture from the chaana (paneer).

Now tie the muslin cloth from the faucet of your kitchen sink for 3-4hrs to drain out the last drop of whey.

Take chaana out of the cheese cloth and knead it with gentle pressure to make a soft dough.

Now take small balls out of it and roll them in elongated shape. Flatten each of them by putting them in between your palms. Keep them on a clean plate.

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Take a wide sauce pan and dissolve sugar into the water. Bring it to a boil on high heat.

When it starts boiling reduce the heat to medium and allow the syrup to simmer for another 5 – 6 minutes.

Remove the lid and gently release chum chums in batches; into it. Chum chum will expand when it is cooked, so keep enough room for their expansion.

Cook them covered on medium heat for 15 minutes and then turn them over. Cook for another 5 minutes and then remove them with a slotted spoon.

Arrange them on a plate and allow them to cool in a refrigerator for 30 minutes.

By this time prepare malai for chum chums.

Ingredients for malai

  1. 1 cup whole milk
  2. 1 cup heavy cream
  3. 2tsp. sugar
  4. Crushed pistachio for garnishing
  5. Optional saffron

Procedure of making Malai

In a heavy bottom pan mix together milk, heavy cream and sugar. Optionally add saffron. Now let it boil on medium heat. Stir continuously to avoid scalding.

Soon you will see it starts getting thick. Cook for some more time till it gets a spread like consistency.

Take out the chum chums from refrigerator and either using a flat knife or using pastry bag with malai filling spread the warm malai on the top surface of chum chums. Let it soak for a minute, then apply the 2nd layer. Sprinkle crushed pistachio and saffron over them to garnish.IMG_4871

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