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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pabda Macher Jhaal (Bengali Fish Curry)

IMG_9329I got some frozen pabda at a local Bangaldeshi store. The packaging could easily give the Egyptian mummy makers a run for their money. However, the fish tasted fine.

This recipe is not specifically for pabda fish, you can use various kinds of sweet water fishes with it. This is the staple curry which Bengalis make with Pabda, Rohu, Katla, Telapia,Kajri, etc… The curry is not too rich and brings out the flavor of the fish and imparts a fine taste of mustard to it.

IngredientsWP_000387

  1. 4 pieces of pabda maach cleaned
  2. 2 tbsp. of black mustard seeds
  3. 4,5 green chilies
  4. 1 tsp. of kalonji (nigella seeds)
  5. 1 medium tomato coarsely chopped
  6. 2 tbsp. of plain curd
  7. 1 tbsp. of turmeric powder
  8. 1 tsp. of red chili powder
  9. A handful of cilantro / coriander leaves
  10. Mustard oil
  11. Salt
  12. Sugar

Procedure

Wash the fishes and pat them dry. Smear them with salt and half of the turmeric powder.

Heat oil in a kadai (wok) till it smokes and then lower the heat. Fry the fishes till both the sides take a golden brown hue. As these fishes are very soft, you need to be very careful while frying them so that they don't break. Remove fried fishes from the oil and keep aside.

Make a fine paste of mustard seeds with 1,2 green chilies.

In a bowl mix rest of the turmeric powder with mustard paste and keep it handy.

Take fresh oil in a pan and heat it. Temper with nigella seeds and green chilies. Once they stop spluttering add mustard paste and sauté on low heat for about a minute.

Add chopped tomatoes and fry them till they become mushy. Add chili powder to it. Now turn off the heat and add curd (yoghurt) to the spice mixture. Mix it well with the masala and turn the heat on. Season it with salt and little sugar. Add about half cup of water and give a nice stir. Wait for the water to come to a rolling boil. Now gently add fishes to it and let it simmer for 2,3 mins till the gravy is thick. Sprinkle freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve with hot rice.

 

Dhaba style Baigun/Begun Bharta

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Bharta is pureed or mashed vegetables fried on low heat with different spices. Baigan, Brinjal or Eggplant makes the finest kind of bharta. While in the traditional style the eggplant needs to be roasted over charcoal fire, I used electric oven to roast it. While in the past I have made my husband roast it on a camping stove in our balcony, I decided to spare him this time due to the bitter cold.

My father-in-law was a vegetarian and loved to cook. My husband use to rave about the bharta his dad made. So after getting married I asked him to teach me his recipe. When he was cooking it, he had a glass of heated mustard oil standing by. He finished cooking and as I was about to ask him, he pored the entire glass of oil on the bharta!!! Each time I make this dish I remember about this incident and ensure I deviate from at least this part of the recipe Smile

Ingredients

  1. 1 large eggplant (Brinjal)
  2. 1 large onion slivered
  3. 1 large onion coarsely chopped
  4. 1/2" ginger minced
  5. 6-8 garlic cloves minced
  6. 3-4 green chilies finely chopped
  7. 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  8. 1 tbsp. chili powder
  9. 1 tsp. coriander powder
  10. 1 tsp. cumin powder
  11. 1 tsp. garam masala powder
  12. 1 tbsp. kasuri methi ( Dried fenugreek leaves)
  13. A handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves
  14. Salt
  15. Sugar
  16. Mustard oil
  17. Ghee / clarified butter

Procedure

Wash eggplant and pat it dry. Make some incisions all over it to avoid explosion in the oven. Smear the surface with oil and place it on a baking sheet. Bake it in a preheated oven at 350F for 40 mins. In case you don’t want to use the oven you can alternatively roast it on a gas stove by placing it on a mesh and allowing the skin to char on all the sides. Frequently turn it around until fully roasted. You will see the eggplant is loosing its shape and the juices start coming up. On open gas stove it doesn't take more than 10 mins to get roasted..

Once done allow it to cool and either scoop the flesh out or remove the charred skin to get the flesh.  Mash it with a fork and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add minced onion to it. Fry till it turns light brown. Now add chopped ginger and garlic to it . Sauté till you get a nice aroma of fried ginger and garlic. You may add little water if the spices stick to the bottom of the pan. Now add all dry spices other than garam masala powder. Next add chopped tomato and fry well till the tomato becomes mushy.

Add mashed eggplant and season with salt and sugar. Keep frying mashed eggplant with the spice mixture till it blends well. Sprinkle kasuri methi and remove from heat.

Just before serving, Heat ghee in a separate pan  on low heat and add garam masala powder to it. Once it starts sizzling pour it over the bharta along with chopped coriander greens. Serve it with phulka or chapathi.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Yakhni Pulao (Kashmiri Meat Pilaf)

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Exactly 10 years back on the 30th of January, at our wedding reception the caterer who has by father-in-laws friend and colleague affectionately served Yakhni (pronounced as Aakhni) pulao. He planned the entire dinner on his own.

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As you might guess from this, it’s our 10th wedding anniversary. It’s been hell of a journey living across 4 cities and two countries. However, in all the journey we have frequently talked about that Yakhni pulao and how one of our friends had nothing but the pulao in the entire dinner (and a lot of it by the way), you know who you are…

My 7 year old foodie daughter is all excited about our anniversary and all the stories of the big fat Indian wedding she goes on hearing about. So I wanted to treat her with the same Pulao. So on the occasion of the 10th anniversary, I made the same thing.

Yakhni pulao is the Kashmiri version of Biriyani. Yakhni, means a thin cream colored sauce with aromatic spices. It’s made with yogurt as a base with spices like fennel seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and Kashmiri red chili.

Ingredients

  1. Grind the following ingredients into a smooth paste with little water (masala paste)
    1. 1 tbsp fennel seeds
    2. 1" cinnamon sticks
    3. 10 cloves
    4. 5 green cardamom
    5. 5 black cardamom
    6. 1 tbsp black cumin
    7. 1" ginger root
    8. 1 tsp. turmeric powder
    9. 1tbsp. Kashmiri red chili powder (optional, I didn’t have it on me and hence didn’t use it)
  2. For pulao
    1. 1 kg (around 2lb) mutton / goat meat on bone cut into 2" pieces
    2. 3 cups of basmati rice ( washed and soaked in water for 30 mins)
    3. 1 cup thick yogurt
    4. 1 medium sized onion thinly sliced
    5. 1 tsp. saffron strands soaked in warm milk
    6. Oil
    7. Ghee ( clarified butter)
    8. Salt
    9. Sugar

Procedure

Heat 2 tbsp of oil on medium heat and add ground masala paste to it. Stir until you see oil floating on the top. Add half a cup of water, salt and simmer for about 5 mins. Turn off the heat before you add whisked yogurt to avoid curdling. Add sugar. Simmer it on low heat.Once the yogurt is cooked you will get a rich cream colored fragrant sauce. Strain and reserve it.

 

Put the mutton pieces in a heavy bottom pan. Pour the straineIMG_0908IMG_0910IMG_0911IMG_0914IMG_0915IMG_0917d sauce or yakhni over it. Cook it covered till the meat is done. You can also pressure cook it if you are in a hurry.

Separate the meat and measure the stock. The stock should measure 6 cups. If there is more boil it down till you get 6 cups, if less add hot water to it.

Deep fry onion slices till they are brown and crispy. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

In a separate pan heat oil and ghee. Now add the pre soaked rice and fry on medium heat till all the rice grains are well coated with oil. Add meat pieces along with 6 cups of stock and stir gently. Give a taste test and adjust salt and sugar. This is a pulao and hence will be little bit on the sweeter side. Bring it to a boil and then cook it covered on low heat till rice is done. Allow it to rest for 5 mins then fluff it with a fork.

Sprinkle saffron milk and fried onions over it to give the pulao a nice color.

In our wedding reception it was served with chicken kurma. IMG_0924

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sabji Diye Mator Dal (Lentil soup with vegetables)

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This is a common bong delicacy on a cold winter day. Markets in Bengal fill up with fresh vegetables in winter and this dish makes ample use of that. This is generally served with hot rice, accompanied by begun bhaja (fried eggplant) or crispy aloo-bhaja (potato chips).

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup yellow split peas (or Motor daal)
  2. 1/2 radish cut in cubes
  3. 1/2 cup cauliflower florets
  4. 1 carrot cut in cubes
  5. 1/2 cup green peas
  6. Handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves
  7. 3,4 green chilies slit lengthwise
  8. 1 tsp. kalonji ( Nigella seeds)
  9. Turmeric
  10. Salt
  11. Sugar
  12. Oil
  13. Ghee ( clarified butter)

Procedure

Wash the dal and cook it in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt and turmeric powder. Let the cooker whistle once, then wait for the pressure to be released by its own. You can boil the dal without cooker but then it will take longer time.

In a separate pan or microwave cook the vegetables till they are tender.

Heat oil in a kadai and temper it with kalonji and green chilies. Once it starts sputtering add the cooked vegetables and sauté till the nice aroma of the vegetables fill the air.

Now add dal and season it with salt and sugar. Finish it off with freshly chopped coriander leaves and a spoonful of ghee.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken Chettinad

IMG_9376I fell in love with the fiery Chettinad cuisine in Bangalore. There my restaurant of choice was Nandini Palace. When I moved to Hyderabad I had no trouble finding great chettinad food their either. Malgudi being my fav. Interestingly this is one of the few things that I didn’t have to compromise when I moved to the US. Our local Indian restaurant Mayuri can churn out Chettinad food with equal ease. When the waitress asks “low, medium or high” you need to coyly say “super-high please” and get ready for mouth throbbing, head numbing, sinusitis curing chicken chettinad to arrive.

Ingredients

  1. 1 kg cut chicken on bone
  2. Whole garam masala
    1. 3,4 Cardamom
    2. 5,6Clove
    3. 1"cinnamon
  3. 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  4. 1 tsp. whole black mustard seeds
  5. 2 medium onions thinly sliced
  6. 2 tbsp. Ginger+garlic paste
  7. 2 tomatoes coarsely chopped
  8. Handful curry leaves
  9. 7-8 (or more :) ) green chilies
  10. 1 tbsp. coriander powder
  11. 1 tsp. cumin powder
  12. 3 tbsp. red chili powder
  13. 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  14. 2 tbsp. Crushed peppercorns
  15. Handful of chopped coriander leaves
  16. Salt
  17. Sugar

Procedure

Heat oil in a heavy pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and whole garam masala. Wait till the spices splutter. Add chopped onion with little salt and sugar and fry till they become brown. Adding salt takes the moisture out of the onion and helps to cook faster. Be patient and wait till they turn brown. This brown onion will dissolve when you add water and turns into a nice rich gravy.

Now add turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste. chopped green chilies and curry leaves to it. Fry till the raw flavor of ginger+garlic paste goes away. Add chopped tomatoes, chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder to it. Fry on medium heat till they are soft and mushy. It will take about 10 mins for the tomatoes to get done. By this time you will see that the oil is oozing out of the spices.

Add chicken pieces and mix thoroughly with the spices. Cover it up with a lid and allow it to simmer for about 7- 10 mins. You need not add any water as the chicken will release enough moisture to get cooked. Adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper corn and mix it well. Finish it off with handful of chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with hot rice, chapathi or appam.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baked Potato (Jacket Potato)

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Sometime back few of our friend and family made a weekend trip to the ski-resort of Mt. Baker. We had a blast staying in a log hut and taking ski-lessons. Personally I am not a snow person. So when my family was down in the snow taking ski-lessons, me and my friend decided to stay back at the resort chalet.

We ordered some hot coffee and baked potatoes at the chalet café. While savoring the food we were sitting cozily in the warmth of the chalet and chit-chatting. Far below in the snow my family was learning to ski or rather crawling all over the snow as it appeared to us. We were waiting for them to come back so that we could re-order the potato and share with them. Unfortunately the café ran out of it by the time they came back. That didn’t stop me and my friend from raving about it on the drive back. My husband and daughter half famished got irritated to no end.

After coming back home I had to make it for them. After all what’s good in a food that is not shared with your loved ones. Baked potato or Jacket potato makes a very good supper or dinner with some bread rolls. It’s super easy to make as well.

Ingredients

  1. 4 medium baking potatoes
  2. Salt
  3. 4 tsp. butter
  4. 4 tsp. shredded cheddar cheese
  5. 4 tsp. tomato ketchup
  6. 4 tsp. sour cream
  7. 4 tsp. chopped spring onions

Procedure

Pre heat the oven to 350F. Wash potatoes thoroughly and poke them with a sharp fork all over so that the moisture built up inside during baking can escape. Coat the potatoes lightly with oil and place them directly on an oven rack. Bake for about 40 mins and then turn them over. Bake for another 30 mins till the skin feels crispy but the flesh beneath feels soft.

Take it out and make a X shaped incision on top of each potato. Now crack the potatoes open by squeezing the ends towards one another.

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It will pop right open. Season each of them with salt followed by a dollop of butter. As the potatoes are steaming hot the butter will melt and help the salt to go through. Load it with a spoon ful of sour cream followed by tomato ketchup . Sprinkle shredded cheese and spring onions over it. Serve hot, immediately.  

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Mutton Rogan Josh

IMG_0568After getting up into a cold dreary morning I desperately needed some energy to get me through the day. I thought the best way to get some josh back was obviously to make and eat some Rogan Josh, the classic Kashmiri dish custom made exactly for a weather like this. Traditionally Rogan Josh is made by Kashmiris with lots of asafoetida, dried ginger powder and other spices to fight against the harsh cold of the Himalayas.

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Ingredients

  1. 2 lb. goat meat on bone cut into 1" cubes (Leg or shoulder portion of goat or lamb is preferred)
  2. 1 tsp. of asafoetida (hing)
  3. 4 pods black cardamom
  4. 5,6 green cardamom
  5. 8,10 cloves
  6. 2" cinnamon stick
  7. 5,6 bay leaves
  8. 2 lb. onion thinly sliced
  9. 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  10. 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  11. 4 tbsp. Kashmiri chili powder ( Paprika powder is also a good alternative)
  12. 1 tsp. dry ginger powder
  13. 1 tsp. fennel powder
  14. 1/2 cup plain yogurt beaten
  15. 10 tbsp. mustard oil
  16. Salt
  17. Sugar

Procedure

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan till it smokes and put bay leaves, cardamoms (both green and black), cinnamon, cloves and asafoetida into it. Once the fragrance of the spices start coming out, add sliced onions to it and fry them on medium heat till they are golden brown. Keep stirring them continuously to prevent burning.

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Add the mutton pieces and fry them on high heat along with onions till all  sides of meat pieces are brown. Add ginger, garlic paste to it and sauté for about 3,4 minutes on medium heat. Add about 2 cups of warm water to it along with salt and little sugar.

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Now bring the contents of the pan to a boil scraping in all the browned spices on the sides and bottom. Cover and allow it to simmer on low heat till the meat pieces are tender. It takes almost an hour for meat to get tender.IMG_0440

In a small bowl mix red chili powder with 4 tbsp. of water to make a paste. Now add this chili paste to the cooked mutton followed by dry ginger powder and fennel powder. Stir it well and cook for about another 5 mins on high heat. In between give the pot a nice stir to prevent burning.

Turn off the heat and slowly add beaten yogurt to it. Mix really well and bring it back to medium high heat and boil off some of the liquid stirring all the time till the sauce is thickened. Give it a taste test and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Serve with butter naan or plain basmati rice.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tangra Macher Jhol Pyajkoli Diye (Tengra with Green Onions)

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IMG_0521Growing up in a Bangal family, I’ve always heard how the fishes just across the border in Bangladesh taste a thousand times better. However we never really got a chance to have it while living in Kolkata. Now after moving thousands of miles to the other side of the globe I suddenly discovered a Bangladeshi store with all sorts of sweet water fish. In my last trip to the store I picked up some Tangra mach, the best part was that the fish was completely cleaned and cut. I can now attest to my grandma's belief that indeed they seem to be better.

 

Ingredients

  1. 10-12 tangra mach cleaned
  2. 2 medium sized potatoes cut in thin wedges
  3. 1 large onion sliced
  4. A bunch of onion greens cut into 2' pieces
  5. 2 medium onions coarsely chopped
  6. 3-4 green chilies
  7. Coriander leaves finely chopped
  8. 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  9. 2 tsp. chili powder
  10. Salt
  11. Sugar
  12. Mustard oil

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Procedure

IMG_0535These fishes need to be treated to get rid of their smell. Take a bowl full of warm water with a spoon of turmeric and salt. Keep your frozen fish in the water for about an hour. Drain the water and repeat the process once more to get rid of the smell completely.  

Heat mustard oil in a pan till  smoking hot. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

In a large mixing bowl mix all ingredients with the fish thoroughly and transfer the contents to the pan with oil.

Put on the heat and add 1 cup of water. Cook it covered on medium heat till the fish is done and the potatoes are soft. Sprinkle some chopped coriander and serve with hot rice.

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Plum Cake

IMG_0861I used to travel over Taratolla in Kolkata to go to my college. During Christmas I used to see a bunch of ladies hanging out infront of the bakeries with large bags (big shopper) in their hand. I never quiet figured out what they were doing until the day I chanced upon an acquaintance doing the same. She solved the mystery, they were waiting for the baker to bake their cake. Since few had oven at home, they’d bring the ingredients  of the cake and get it baked at the bakery.

Thankfully we have it easy, the only waiting I need to do is for the oven timer to go off. But let me tell you that with the aroma of the cake filling the house, it’s hard to wait.

Ingredients For Rum / Wine soaked fruits

You can use any fruits and nuts of your choice. Here is the list that I have used for my cakeIMG_0200

  1. Cashew
  2. Almond
  3. Raisins
  4. Black current
  5. Dried blue berry
  6. Dried cherry
  7. Dried Prunes
  8. Dried Apricot
  9. Dried Fig
  10. Candied tutty fruity mixture

I used almost 3 cups of these fruit mixture and soaked them in Rum / red wine for a week. The longer you soak the better it tastes. If you don't like to use alcohol you can soak in either orange or grape juice.

For the caramel

  1. 1 cup brown sugar
  2. 1 cup water

In a pan bring the water to a boil and let it simmer on low heat. In a separate pan take the brown sugar and keep on a low heat. Soon it will start melting. Wait till the sugar melts completely. Once it melts add the boiling water to it and stir really vigorously so that it doesn’t stick at the bottom. Let it simmer till this becomes thick. Now allow it to cool.

For the cake

  1. 2 cups all purpose flour (Maida)
  2. 1 cup powdered sugar
  3. 150 gm. of unsalted butter
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1 cup orange juice
  6. 2 tsp. baking powder
  7. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  8. Spice  powder made of the following which will later be referred as CNMC powder
    1. A pinch of Clove powder
    2. A pinch of Nutmeg powder
    3. A pinch of Mace powder
    4. A pinch of Cinnamon powder

Sieve flour and baking powder and mix with all dry spices and keep aside.

Take a big mixing bowl and with a hand mixer beat sugar and butter till they are light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat till they mix in.

Add half of the flour mixture and fold it gently with a spatula. Do not use electric mixer/beater after you add the flour.

Add in the caramel. Add orange juice and vanilla extract.  Mix well. Now fold rest of the dry ingredients into it. Finally toss the soaked dry fruits in 2 tbsp. of dry flour and  mix them in the cake batter.

Pre heat the oven at 300F.

Line a baking pan with butter paper and pour the cake batter. Cover the top of the pan with an aluminum foil. Bake for 60 mins. The covering with the foil helps to prevent the over-browning of the cake top.

Lower the temperature to 250F and bake again for 20 - 30 mins without the aluminum foil. Insert a skewer, if it comes out clean it means the cake is done. If not you need to bake for some more time.

Once done take it out and allow it to cool completely. Remove the butter papers once it is cold. Brush it up with little more wine / rum. Wait for atleast 24 hrs  to mature.

Decorate and serve.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Kalo Aloor Dum (Dum Aloo in Black Pepper Paste)

IMG_1820My choto-mashi (aunt) and grandma lived close by. I was heading over to my grandma’s place from my aunt’s. Choto-mashi was down with cold and she told me to ask grandma to make some kalo-aloor dum (dum potato with black pepper) and send it over. I had no idea what it was. However, I can tell you that a large percentage of what grandma made didn’t make it over. As they call it “lost in transit”. It became my gravy of choice for poori and luchi.

Kalo-aloor dum, gets it’s kalo (black) color from black pepper paste. Combined with ginger it works wonder when you are under the weather. Living in a cold country we frequently make it.

Ingredients

  1. 10-12 baby potatoes
  2. 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  3. 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  4. 1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  5. 2 tbsp black pepper corn
  6. 2,3 tejpatta ( bay leaf)
  7. 4,5 green chilies
  8. 1 tbsp. ghee
  9. Salt
  10. Sugar
  11. Oil

Procedure

In a pan bring enough water to a boil. Add salt to it. Add potatoes and cook it till its boiled. Drain the water and pour cold water on the potatoes. Peel the skin off.

Make a paste of whole cumin, coriander and pepper corn. Somehow I found it difficult to make a fine paste of these ingredients in a mixer. I first dry grind my whole spices in a coffee grinder and then transfer them to the mixer to get the fine paste.

Heat oil in a pan and temper with 1/2 tsp. of cumin seeds, tejpatta and green chilies. Once the spices start sputtering remove the green chilies and keep them for later use.

Add boiled potatoes to it and fry on medium low heat till the potatoes take a light brown hue.IMG_0412

Add ginger paste to it followed by salt and little sugar and sauté till the raw smell subsides. You can add water incrementally if the masala sticks to the bottom of the pan. Now its time to add the masala paste you made before.  Mix the spice paste with potatoes and fry them till oil separates out from the masala.

Pour half a cup of water to it and check the seasoning. Let it simmer till the gravy becomes thick . I like it dry so I put less water and cook till the moisture dries up and the potatoes are well coated with spices. In Bengali we call this Makha-Makha.

Add a spoonful ghee along with the fried green chilies you kept aside. Cover the pan with a lid and turn off the heat.

This time my dad and husband made some luchi to enjoy with it.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Doodh Puli

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Let me start by wishing all my readers happy sankranti.

Poush-sankranti or makar sankranti is celebrated as the harvest festival in West Bengal. Harvest festival is as expected celebrated with food made from the fresh harvest of rice and date palm jaggery. Bongs famous for their sweet tooth use the festival as an excuse to make all sorts of sweets.

At my home my mom used to make pati-shapta and dudh puli (or doodh puli) every year. She tried making some other types of pithe but I abundantly discouraged her as these were my favorites. I have already shared my pati-shapta recipe, here goes that of dudh-puli.

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups rice flour
  2. 2 tbsp maida (all purpose flour)
  3. Warm water
  4. 2 cups grated coconut
  5. 1 cup khoya (Evaporated milk solids)
  6. 1cup khejur gur (date palm jaggery). You can use 1 cup of sugar instead
  7. 1 tsp. cardamom powder. Optional. I don’t use as I want to retain the flavor of the gur.
  8. 1 can evaporated milk ( If you don't want to use evaporated milk you ca use 11/2 lit pf full cream milk instead.)
  9. 1 can milk. ( I used the can of evaporated milk to measure )
  10. Half cup khejur gur

Procedure

In a mixing bowl mix grated coconut, khoya and khejur gur.

Heat the mixture in a pan. Cook it on low flame till everything comes together and leaves the sides of the pan. Remove and allow it to cool. This will be your stuffing or pur.

Mix rice flour and maida in a bowl. Knead it with warm water by adding little warm water at a time. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

Make small balls out of the dough. Flatten out each ball with your fingers in the shape of a disc. Stuff the filling inside it. Fold the two edges and give it a spindle shape. Press them tightly so that  they don't open while boiling. This is called the puli.IMG_0630IMG_0646-EditIMG_0648-Edit

In a heavy bottom pan mix together evaporated milk and normal milk and turn on the heat. Bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling add pulis one by one. Cook them for about 10 minutes while stirring the milk intermittently. Pulis will come to the surface of the milk once they are done. Add jaggery and mix everything together gently.

Cook for another couple of  minutes and serve them hot or cold.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Egg Biriyani

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I make many different types of biriyani’s. Chicken, Mutton and even vegetarian using recipes from Hyderabad, Kolkata and Awadh. I always think that over time I’ll learn and cook even more disparate types of Biriyanis. However, I never actually thought that I’d cook Biriyani just with eggs and that it’d turn out to be so yummy.

It all started with my friend Laxmi visiting my home the day I made some chicken Biriyani. I served it to her son, and he loved it. However, Laxmi being a eggiterian had to miss out. So she insisted I make egg biryani the next time. Apprehensive that my hardcore non-veg daughter and husband would sneer and not have it, I made enough just for couple of people.

Oh how wrong these assumptions turned out to be. The biriyani came out really well and I just gave couple of spoons to my daughter and husband. They gobbled it up in minutes and started cribbing big time on how little I made.

Ingredients

  1. 250 gm. basmati rice washed and soaked in water for 30 mins
  2. 6 hard boiled eggs
  3. 10 - 12 baby potatoes half boiled and peeled
  4. 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  5. 1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  6. 4 - 5 tbsp. plain yogurt / curd
  7. Few strands of saffron soaked in warm milk
  8. Few strands of coriander leaves
  9. 1 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder (Make your own)
  10. Salt
  11. Sugar
  12. Turmeric powder
  13. 5 - 6 tbsp. of canola / sunflower oil
  14. 1 tbsp. ghee / clarified butter
  15. Whole garam masala
    1. 1” cinnamon stick
    2. 2 green cardamom
    3. 5-6 cloves

Procedure

In a pan boil water. Once water starts boiling add salt to it and stir well. Now add rice and turn off the heat. Keep it covered for 5 mins. Drain the water and spread rice on a flat dish or tray.

Heat oil in a kadai/wok and deep fry onion slices till they are brown and crispy. Don't char them. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Smear boiled eggs and potatoes with salt and turmeric powder. Deep fry the eggs and potatoes in the same oil till they turn nice golden brown. Remove and keep aside.

Temper the oil with whole garam masala. When the oil starts releasing the fragrance of the masala, add ginger+garlic paste and sauté till their raw smell goes away. You can add little water to prevent burning. 

Add half of the fried onions to it along with curd. Now gently add fried eggs and potatoes to it. Sprinkle garam masala powder. Season with salt, sugar and fry the masala till oil separates out.

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan and add rice to it. Next add egg and potato masala you made just before this. Pour about 350 ml. of water to it and mix  well. While mixing you need to be a bit careful so the eggs don't break. Taste and adjust salt and sugar. 

Cover and cook on medium heat till rice is done. Fluff it with a fork and add saffron milk.

Garnish with crispy fried onions, coriander greens and serve hot. 

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pati-shapta (Indian Rice Flour Crêpe)

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Poush-sankranti or makar sankranti is celebrated as the harvest festival in West Bengal. Harvest festival is as expected celebrated with food made from the fresh harvest of rice and date palm jaggery. Bongs famous for their sweet tooth use the festival as an excuse to make all sorts of sweets which are rice flour crepe based. These are called pithe.

Even though I make it every year, this is the first time when my daughter took a sudden liking to it. The liking soon turned into addiction. Even 5 minutes, she’d sneak up to the refrigerator and grab a handful. She even got it packed for her school lunch.

I have tried making patishapta with different proportion of maida, suji mixed with rice flour. However, the proportion used below worked out best for me. The pithe remains soft and yummy for 3-4 days.

Making pati-shapta is a three step process. You need to first make the stuffing that goes inside, then you need to make the crepe, finally bring it all together to make pati-shapta.

IMG_0571Ingredients For Filling / Pur

  1. 1 lb. grated coconut
  2. 1 lb. khoya/concentrated milk solids (an alternative to khoya is a cup of milk powder)
  3. 3/4th cup khejur gur (date palm jaggery)

Procedure Of making Pur

In a large mixing bowl mix all the above ingredients thoroughly and check the sweetness. Adjust according to your taste. In a pan, cook the coconut mixture on a low flame till the mixture comes together and leaves the sides of the pan. You need to stir continuously to avoid the mixture from sticking to the base of the pan. Allow the mixture to cool down. Your filling is ready to use.

 

IMG_0569Ingredients For Crêpe

  1. 2 cups maida / all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 cup semolina
  3. 1/2 cup rice flour
  4. 2,3 tbsp of powdered sugar
  5. 3-4 cups of cold milk
  6. Ghee (clarified butter) for later use during frying

Make The Batter

Mix all dry ingredients together and slowly add milk to make an uniform batter. Mix well and make sure that no lump is formed. The batter will be little thinner than pancake batter.

Pati+shapta

Heat a non-stick skillet or tawa and evenly spread a teaspoon of ghee/clarified butter. Sprinkle some water over it and when the water starts to sizzle, wipe off the ghee with a kitchen towel. You need to repeat this step before making each patishapta but use just few drops of ghee instead of a spoon full.

Pour a ladle full of batter on the tawa and with the back of the ladle spread it in a circle like making dosa. Cook it on low flame for 2-3 minutes. Put a spoon full of filling on one side and then roll it like a crepe. Step by step guide is below, click to enlarge.

You can have it, as it is, or spread 1 or 2 spoon of sweet condensed milk or liquid jaggery over it. Serve it hot.

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