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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Doi Mach (Fish in Yogurt Sauce)

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The great thing about having an IP phone (in this particular case vonage) is that I don’t miss much of what’s going on with my family thousands of miles away. Right now a young relative is getting married. In a bong marriage there is more discussion around what’s served at the banquet than about the bride and groom.

When we got married folks were tired of eating the same ‘ol bong food they had each day and the banquet menu started taking inspiration from across the country. Biriyani and Kebabs ruled. Now people are getting back to their roots. Caterers provided a bunch of samples and I heard that their doi-mach (yogurt-fish) has struck a chord. Though I cannot participate in the sampling, nothing stops me from having some sumptous doi-mach at home.

Doi-mach can be made with a variety of fresh water carps like Rohu and Catla. Since I get a ready supply of the former, I used rohu here.

Ingredients

  1. 4 pieces of rohu OR catla cut into steak size pieces
  2. 1/2 cup thick yogurt
  3. 1 medium onion ( make a fine paste of half of the onion and chop the rest)
  4. 1 tsp. ginger paste
  5. 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
  6. 1 tsp. chili powder
  7. 1/2 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  8. 2,3 bay leaves (tejpatta)
  9. Whole garam masala (made of the following)
    1. 1" cinnamon
    2. 2,3 green cardamom
    3. 5,6 cloves
  10. Salt
  11. Sugar
  12. 1 tbsp. ghee ( clarified butter)
  13. Mustard oil

Procedure

Wash fish pieces and rub half of the turmeric powder and salt over it.

In a bowl mix yogurt with ginger paste, onion paste turmeric powder and chili powder.

Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the fish steaks for a very little time till the raw color of the fish goes away. Remove and keep aside.

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Temper the oil with 1 tsp. of sugar, bay leaf and coarsely pound whole garam masala. Add chopped onion and fry them on medium high heat till it becomes translucent. Turn off the heat and let it cool down a little before you add yogurt mixture to it. This way you can avoid the yogurt from curdling.

Sauté the masala till the raw smell of onion and ginger goes away. Season with salt and gently slide fried fish steaks into it. Let it simmer till the gravy thickens. The gravy won't be runny rather it will have a thick consistency. Finish it off with a spoonful of ghee and garam masala powder.

Serve with pulao or hot basmati rice.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kosha Murgi

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When we grew up it was common for the local club to organize Sunday picnics in the winter. It was a huge affair where dozens of country chickens were brought it and the local youth sat down to clean and cook them under the watchful eyes of the senior citizens.

One of the guys in our neighborhood specialized in cooking at this large scale (say for over 200 people). Once a friend’s mom asked him for his recipe. He started ranting about fistful of chili powders and salt and she begged him to stop and ran away.

We miss our childhood picnic, but there is no need to miss out what we used to have in it. This is a scaled down version of that picnic Kosha Murgi. Hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients

  1. 1 kg whole cut chicken (medium sized pieces)
  2. 2 large potatoes cut into halves
  3. 3 large onions sliced
  4. 2 large tomatoes cut into halves
  5. 1tbsp ginger paste
  6. 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  7. 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
  8. 2 tbsp. chili powder
  9. 1 tbsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  10. Salt
  11. Sugar
  12. 4- 5 tbsp. of mustard oil
  13. For Tempering
    1. 2,3 bay leaves or tejpatta
    2. Whole garam masala
    3. 1" cinnamon
    4. 2,3 green cardamom
    5. 5,6 cloves

Procedure

Heat mustard oil in a pan and temper with bay leaves and whole garam masala. Once the oil becomes fragrant add 1 tsp. sugar and wait till it melts. This will help to get a gorgeous red colored gravy.

Throw in the slivered onions along with a pinch of salt. You need lots of patience to fry them for a long time on low heat. When the edges of the onion slices turn brown add potato and chicken pieces and fry them on medium high heat. Add ginger garlic paste to it and sauté for a while.

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Add all dry spices and mix well to coat the chicken pieces with all the spices. Cover and cook for 5 mins and then add tomatoes.

Add salt and sugar to your taste. Give it a nice mix.

Cover and cook on medium heat till the chicken is soft. The chicken will be cooked in its own moisture and the juices released by tomatoes. Allow the extra gravy to dry up. Season with bengali garam masala.

Chicken kosha goes well with paratha or pair it with some white rice. We had it on for Sunday lunch along with some macher mathar daal

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Aloo Posto (Potato in Poppy Seed Paste)

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Few realize while eating Posto that they are actually having a part of the same plant that gives us opium.

Not realizing does have significant repercussions in some cases. Like the mom who had poppy seed salad the day before delivering a baby. A mandatory drug test the following day showed her to be “high” on opiates leading social service to take her baby away. Moral of the story “avoid posto before delivery”.

Now in case you are not in that 0.00000001% of my readers who is going to deliver tomorrow, lets get down to the business of making and having some aloo-posto.

 

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup posto ( Poppy seeds )
  2. 5,6 medium potatoes cut into medium dices
  3. 1 large onion thinly sliced
  4. 5,6 green chilies
  5. 1,2 Dry whole red chilies
  6. 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  7. Salt
  8. Sugar
  9. 3,4 tbsp. mustard oil

Procedure

For alu posto we need to make a tight paste of poppy seeds.

Traditionally this paste was made in Shil Noda, and the paste was suppose to be like sandal paste, or chandan bata. I dry grind poppy seeds in my coffee grinder and later add little amount of water to make a paste. You can also use a wet grinder to make a fine paste of poppy seeds with 2 dry red chilies in one go.

Heat oil in a kadai or wok and add onion slices and green chilies to it. Fry on medium heat till the edges turn brown. Throw the diced potatoes to it followed by turmeric powder. Fry the potatoes for a while and season it with salt and little bit of sugar. Add about 1/4th cup of water to it. Keep it covered and cook on low flame till the potatoes are 3/4th done and most of the moisture has evaporated. IMG_1031

Add poppy seed paste over it . Don't mix at this point. Keep your Kadai covered for 1-2 mins on low heat.

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The heat inside will cook the poppy seed paste. Now remove the lid and mix the paste with potato. By this time there will be no moisture left in it.Turn off the heat and serve.

Note: Poppy seed paste is not added along with potatoes because it has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan and get burnt.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Begun Chingri (Eggplant with Shrimp)

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The name of this recipe is plain wrong. Chingri is not without any “গুন".

Keeping aside the regional joke :) this is a favorite recipe from Bangladesh. Eggplant is commonly paired with a variety of seafood, and this is a classic example of that. The mix of using whole prawns along with it’s paste brings out the flavor pretty well.

Ingredients

  1. 1 large egg plant cut into medium cubes
  2. 1 large onion thinly sliced
  3. 1 tsp. garlic paste
  4. 4,5 green chilies slit lengthwise
  5. 1 medium tomato coarsely chopped
  6. 15-20 medium sized prawns cleaned
  7. 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  8. 1 tbsp red chili powder
  9. 1 tsp. nigella seeds
  10. Coriander leaves
  11. Salt
  12. Sugar
  13. Mustard oil

Procedure

Smear the prawns with turmeric powder, salt and keep marinated for 15 mins. Heat oil in a pan and fry prawns till they turn golden. Do not over fry the prawns.Otherwise they will turn rubbery. Remove and keep it reserved for later use.

Take half of the fried prawns and make a coarse paste of it.

Temper the same oil with kalonji and wait till it splutters. Add sliced onions and green chilies to it. Fry on medium high heat till they turn light brown. Add turmeric and chili poweder to it.

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Add garlic paste and sauté for a while. Throw the eggplant cubes into the pan and mix well with spices. Add chopped tomato to it. Sprinkle salt and sugar to your taste and mix them well.

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Cook it covered till the eggplants become soft but not mushy and then add fried prawns along with the prawn paste and mix it well. Wait till the oil starts oozing out from the sides. Remove from heat and finish it off with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Palak Moorg (Chicken in Spinach)

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I had heard a lot about the Andhra Palak Ghosht from my friend Devyani. I didn’t realize how good it was until she made it once for me. I tried this recipe on both chicken and goat meat. I prefer the goat meat version but the chicken also turns out pretty good. For this post I used chicken, you can also substitute that with goat meat (and accordingly increase cooking time).

Ingredients

  1. 1 kg chicken on bone
  2. 1 kg palak or spinach finely chopped
  3. 2 large onions finely chopped
  4. 5,6 green chilies finely chopped
  5. 1 tbsp ginger paste
  6. 1 tbsp garlic paste
  7. 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  8. 1 tsp. chili powder
  9. Whole garam masala
    1. 1 tsp. shajeera (caraway)
    2. 1” cinnamon stick
    3. 2 green cardamom
    4. 3-4 cloves
  10. Salt
  11. Sugar

Procedure

Heat oil in a pan and temper with whole garam masala. Once the oil becomes fragrant add chopped onion and green chilies to it. Fry on medium low heat till the edges of the onion turns brown.

Add ginger garlic paste to it and sauté till the raw smell of ginger subsides. Add chicken pieces to it followed by turmeric and chili powder. Fry the meat pieces on medium heat till it looses its raw color.

Season with it salt and sugar. Once you add salt to it it will start releasing lots of water. Cook till all the moisture dries up.

Add chopped spinach to it and give it a stir. Again you will see moisture releasing from spinach. The amount of moisture released from the chicken and spinach will be sufficient for the chicken pieces to get cooked, so you don't have to add any water to it. Cook it covered on medium heat till chicken becomes soft and all the chicken pieces are well coated with spinach and spices.

Allow all the moistures to evaporate. This is completely a dry dish which can be best enjoyed with parantha or kulcha.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Swiss Roll

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My daughters school is closed for mid-winter break. That means there’s a steady stream of her friends dropping by for play-dates. The little ones are very picky about their food and frank about their opinions :). I strive my best to make them happy and swiss rolls with their variety of colors and filling provide the perfect opportunity to do so.

In this blog I have shown two different types of swiss roll, one with white cake and nutella combo and the other chocolate with strawberry cream combo.

Ingredients

  1. For cake sheet
    1. 1/3 cup all purpose flour
    2. 3 tbsp. corn starch (corn-flour)
    3. 3 tbsp. cocoa powder OR all purpose flour
    4. 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    5. 1/2 cup + 1 tsp. powdered sugar
    6. 4 eggs (yolks and white separated)
  2. For Filling
    1. 4 heaped tbsp of cool whip
    2. Your choice of spread: 4 tbsp. strawberry jam / strawberry relish / Nutella
    3. Butter paper
    4. Jelly roll tin as shown below. I didn’t have one handy so I used a cookie tray of 17” by 11”

Swiss roll tin

Procedure

Preheat oven at 450F and place the rack in the center of it. Butter or spray non stick vegetable spray on a baking pan and line it with a butter paper. Butter and sprinkle flour on the surface of the butter paper.

In a small bowl whisk flour, corn starch, cocoa powder, baking powder and keep it handy. Corn starch gives a nice texture to the cake, if you don't have it replace it with equal quantity of flour. Coca powder (ingredient 4 options)  makes for a chocolate roll sheet, in case you use all-purpose flour you’ll get a white cake sheet.

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Separate the egg yolks and egg whites and keep them in separate bowls.

Bring them to room temperature before you start mixing. In a large mixing bowl take egg yolks and sugar and beat them with hand mixer on high speed till they are creamy, pale yellow and fluffy. It takes almost 5 minutes to get this consistency. Now beat in the vanilla extract

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Now gradually add flour mixture to it and fold in gently with a rubber spatula till it is just incorporated.

In a clean bowl take the egg whites and beat until foamy. When it will form a stiff peak, you will know that it is done. Beating separately makes the sponge cake elastic which enables the cake to be rolled out without cracking.

Gently fold the egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula.

Remember not to use the electric blender to the batter once you have added flour to it.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for about 8-10 mins.

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Immediately after removing sprinkle some sugar with the help of a strainer over it and turn the cake over into a clean dish towel.

Remove the butter paper and sprinkle some more sugar over it. Now roll the cake along with the towel from the short end and allow it to cool on a wire rack.

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Lets make the filling by the time it becomes cool. In a bowl mix cool whip with strawberry preserve or jam and keep it in the refrigerator.

You can make your own cool whip by beating 250 ml of whipping cream along with 2 tbsp. of sugar in a electric mixture for about 5-7 mins.

 

Assembling

Unroll the cake, spread the filling evenly and reroll. Cut into medium thick slices and serve.

 

The final product based on your choice of cocoa powder  or all-purpose flour and strawberry jam vs Nutella looks as follows.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Luchi (Bengali White Flour Puri)

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When you live in another state or country some of the local habits really get to you. For example I was always astonished how some people could survive just on curd-rice for months on end. I love curd-rice, but really how can someone have it every single day?

Similarly one of my Telegu friends in Bangalore had this pet peeve about bong-land. He studied in IIT Kharagpore and he just couldn’t get how his classmates had luchi and tarkari every single morning at breakfast. He was just so done with it, that he never wanted to have it even once more.

Now I understand that every local culture has these foods which an outsider will just not understand. I have seen people skip 5-star buffets and reach straight for curd-rice, I have seen my husband who cannot make anything with any form of flour other than luchi, which by the way is not something simple to make.

Here goes the recipe or rather the procedure to make the perfect puffed up luchi. This goes best with the sada alur charchari.

Ingredients

  1. All purpose flour (maida) 2 cups
  2. 1/2 tsp. salt
  3. 1/2 tsp. sugar
  4. 2 tbsp. oil / ghee for shortening
  5. 1/4th cup of water
  6. Oil for deep frying

Procedure

In a wide mouth bowl take all the dry ingredients and mix them really well. Now make a hole at the center of the flour mixture and pour oil or ghee into it. Mix the flour with the oil uniformly using your finger tips so that the texture becomes like breadcrumb.

Gradually add water to it. You need to be very careful about the quantity of water you add because your luchi won't come out nice if the dough is soggy. Work on the dough till it becomes smooth and soft and doesn't stick to your fingers.

Make small balls out of the dough. Roll out each balls uniformly into flat round discs of about 4 to 5 inches in diameter. If you are a beginner it perfectly fine to attempt to make the shape of each continent and country you know. Concentrate on making the luchi and not on it’s shape. Shape will come with time. You can cheat your self out by rolling in any shape and then cutting out round discs using a bowl or jar-lid.

Use few drops of oil to ease the process of rolling so that the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling pin.

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In a kadai or deep frying pan heat enough oil till it is piping hot but not smoky. The temperature of the oil is really important for the luchi to puff up, so test it by dropping a small piece of dough into the oil. If it jumps up to the surface immediately then it is the right time for the luchis to be released in the oil.

Gently release luchi one at a time to the oil. With a flat spatula or spoon push the luchi down and hold it under the oil. This is important to make the luchi puff up. As soon as the luchi is puffed up flip it over. Fry again for 10 secs.

Take it out of the oil with a slotted spoon. Repeat the process till you are done with your dough. As the temperature of the oil is really an important factor you may need to control the temperature by decreasing or increasing the heat throughout the frying process,

Alu-Chorchori (White Potato Curry)

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Unlike most bongs, I never get the lure of luchi (white flour puri). However, I used to love the typical sada-aloor tarkari that used to be made with it. I generally had it with roti instead of luchi.

After marriage when I was “forced” to learn how to make luchi, I tried many types of curry that goes with it. However, whatever exotic thing I tried my husband would always ask for this plain ‘ol tarkari. Apparently there is something special about this simple curry.

Ingredients

  1. 4,5 medium sized potatoes cut into cubes
  2. 2,3 dry whole red chilies
  3. 1 tbsp. paanch-phoron (available in Indian stores)
  4. A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  5. Salt
  6. Sugar

Procedure

Heat oil in a pan and temper it with paanch phoron, hing and dried red chilies. Let them sizzle before you add the potato cubes to it. Fry the potatoes on medium heat without making them brown.

Add salt and sugar to taste and pour enough water to boil them. Cover and cook till the potatoes are soft but still retain their shape. All the water should evaporate before you remove it from heat.

Serve with some phulko luchi. IMG_0901

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chicken Roast

IMG_0880In Hyderabad under the instigation of my husband and couple of his carnivorous friends we used to have what I refer to as Meat Party. They’d head out to the old city near Masab Tank and buy a ton of chicken roast, tangri, raan and goat paya. After they came back they would rave about the Irani chai they had while waiting for their meat to come out of the tandoor.

Since Masab Tank is a bit of a longer drive, we put extra effort and make it at home. Now I have a 7 year old assistant  who helped me with the garnishing.

First marinade

  1. 1 whole chicken cleaned ( Not more than 800 gms)
  2. 1 tsp. Kashmiri red chili powder
  3. 1 tsp. ginger paste
  4. 1 tsp. garlic paste
  5. 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  6. Salt to taste

Clean the chicken and pat it dry. Now with a sharp knife make deep
incisions over thigh, drumsticks and breast part. Make some gashes on
the joints as well. These incisions will help to cook the chicken
evenly and faster.

Take a wide pan and rub the chicken with all the ingredients listed
under first marinade. Rub the marinade well inside the slits and keep
it for half an hour.

Second marinade

  1. 1 cup hung yogurt ( Tie yogurt in a muslin or fine cloth and hang it
    for about 2hrs. to allow the excess water to drain out)
  2. 1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
  3. 1 tsp. Kashmiri red chili powder / paprika powder
  4. 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  5. 1/2 tsp. black salt
  6. 2 tbsp. mustard oil
  7. 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  8. Salt to taste.

Heat oil in a pan till it is piping hot. Now turn off the heat and add
turmeric powder to it. Let the color get infused in the oil.

In a mixing bowl mix all the ingredients listed under second marinade
along with the mustard oil and whisk it to make a homogeneous mixture.
Massage the chicken with this marinade real well. Rub the marinade
inside the slits and inside the empty stomach. Let it rest for about
6-8 hrs.

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Preheat oven at 400F and bake it for 15 mins. Take the chicken out of
the oven, baste it with oil and turn it over. Again bake it for 15-20
mins till the chicken is tender and the juices run clear when the
chicken is pierced by a knife near the bone.

Serve it hot with freshly cut onion rings and chat masala.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Maacher matha diye muger da (Lentil with fish head)

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We rarely had fish head in lentil at home. The reason being that in Kolkata you need to separately buy the fish head, which were in general huge in size. With just 3 people at home we rarely did that.
First time I had this famous bong food was at my grandma-s house, when we went for the traditional ceremony of jamai-shosti. In Jamai-shosti, son-in-law or Jamai is invited over and almost fed to death. I think it started as some sort of celebration then slowly turned into the an occasion where mom-in-laws got their sweet revenge.
I can still remember that day when my grandma and choto-mashi with her leg in cast was sitting and making this at their home.
Now things have changed, here in the US you have to buy a whole fish, which not-surprisingly comes with its head :). So maacher matha diye muger daal has turned into a common bi-monthly delicacy.

Ingredients

  1. 1 fish head cut into four pieces
  2. 1 cup yellow moong dal
  3. 1 medium onion finely chopped
  4. 1 tsp. ginger paste
  5. 1 tsp. garlic paste
  6. 1 tsp. chili powder
  7. 1 tbsp. coriander powder
  8. 1 tsp. cumin powder
  9. 1 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  10. Turmeric powder
  11. 2,3 tejpatta ( bay leaf)
  12. 2,3 dry red chilies
  13. 1 tbsp ghee / clarified butter

Procedure

Wash the fish head thoroughly in water and pat it dry. Smear it with salt and turmeric and keep aside. Meanwhile dry roast the moong dal on medium heat till you get a nutty flavor. Don't char them. Now wash thoroughly the dal and cook it in a pressure cooker with little salt ,turmeric and 2 cups of water. Let the pressure releases on its own after one whistle. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, just cook the daal for a longer period of time. In a kadai heat mustard oil till smoky and fry the fish head. It can splutter so it is better to keep the kadai covered with a lid. You don't have to break the fish head as it will start disintegrating from its joints once it is fried. Remove and reserve it. Take fresh oil in a kadai and heat it. Temper the oil with bay leaves and broken dried red chilies. Now add finely chopped onions to it and fry till they become translucent. Add fish head and ginger garlic paste to it. Sprinkle all dry masala other than garam masala and fry them with fish head. Once you see the oil gets separated out from the masala add boiled dal to it. Season with salt and sugar and let it simmer with fish head for 2-3 mins. The dal will not be runny rather it will have a thick consistency. Finish it off with garam masala powder and ghee. Serve it with hot rice and crispy alu bhaja.  IMG_0732-Edit




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