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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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kumro Saag diye Motor Dal

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IMG_1289We are regular visitors to the local Farmer’s market. We love the fresh organic produce as well as the artisan food. In one of those visits I was flabbergasted to find Kumro saag (Pumpkin twigs) and pumpkin flower being sold in a corner. I bought a bagful (literally!!) and made some delectable Saag with Yellow split peas using my grandmoms recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup motor dal (Yellow split peas)
  • 2 cups chopped pumpkin twigs along with their leaves (Cut into 1” pieces)
  • 1 tsp. kalojeera (Kalonji)
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

Wash dal thoroughly and cook in a pressure cooker with 2 cups water, turmeric powder and salt till one whistle comes.

In a pan heat 2tbsp. oil and temper it with kalojeera and dry red chili. When the spices stop sputtering add pumpkin twigs to it. Sprinkle one pinch salt and sauté for a minute. Cook it covered for about 3-4 minutes. By this time the leaves will start wilting.

Remove the lid and add boiled dal to it. Add sugar and mix. Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. Let it simmer for about another 5 minutes on medium heat. This dal will have a medium consistency.

Serve with plain rice. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dhania Maachie (Fish in Cilantro Sauce)

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My experiment using local fresh fish for traditional Indian recipes continues with this recipe. Commonly Dhania Maachie is made with fresh water small fishes like Khoira, Puti in India. However, my supply of those are restricted to the frozen section in the local Bangladeshi store and I suspect they were caught and packaged sometime in the last century. In this version I used striped bass and it turned out pretty well.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized fish steaks (I used wild striped Bass)
  • 1 large tomato roughly chopped
  • 1 medium bunch of cilantro
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 pinch nigella seeds (Kalojeera)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper corn
  • 1 green chili ( quantity can be changed depending on your heat tolerance level)
  • 2 tbsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

Smear fish steaks with 1 tbsp. turmeric powder and salt. Keep it aside for about fifteen minutes.

Heat 2tbsp. oil in a frying pan till it smokes. Reduce the heat and fry fish steaks till both sides turn golden. Remove from oil and drain them on a paper towel.

Dry roast pepper corn and nigella seeds for about a minute. Now dry grind them in a grinder. Add cilantro, garlic and green chilies to it. Make a fine paste of them by using minimum water.

Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pan and temper it with a pinch of nigella seeds. When the seeds stop spluttering add chopped tomato to it and sauté them on medium hear till they become mushy.

Once you see a fine line of oil separating out from the tomato add the cilantro paste along with a tsp. of turmeric powder to it. Keep sautéing till you find a nice aroma and the raw smell goes away.

Now add half cup of water along with sugar and  salt. Give a nice mix and let it come to a boil. Now gently release the fish steaks into the gravy and let it simmer for few minutes. When you see that the steaks are coated with the spices and the oil has been released you know you are done. Serve with plain hot rice.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bhendi Posto (Okra in Poppy Seed Paste)

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My daughters favorite veggy is Bhendi or Ladies finger. If she were to choose she chooses Bhendi over mutton, which is pretty weird Smile

So as you can guess we buy tons of Bhendi and make it in different ways. The most common being Bhendi fry with Daal, the next being Bhendi Posto (Okra with Poppy seeds).

Ingredients

  • 1lb. okra small sized
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seed
  • 1 dry red chili
  • 1 tsp. kalonji (Kalojeera)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

Procedure

In a grinder make a smooth paste of poppy seed and dry red chili with little water.

Wash okra and pat them dry. Now snip off both ends.

Heat  4-5 tbsp. oil in a pan and temper it with kalonji seeds. When it stops sputtering add okra and sauté them on high heat for a minute. Sprinkle salt and sugar and cook it covered for 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid and do rest of the cooking uncovered. When it is almost done add poppy seed paste and mix with okra gently so that they don’t break.At the end each okra should be coated by poppy seed paste. Add 1 tsp. mustard oil at the end to get an extra zing.

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