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Friday, August 31, 2012

Chicken Reshmi Kebab

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Summer in Pacific Northwest is precious as it is over before it starts. However, it’s gorgeous as long as it lasts. No one can complain about clear skies and 17 hour days. However, late sunset means it’s harder to get kids out of the swimming pools and have their dinner. So we sometimes resort to making our dinner by the poolside. Our community has gas grills along side the pools that help a lot.
This chicken reshmi kebab recipe can be executed both in gas grills, electric ovens and combination microwave ovens.

Ingredients

  1. 1lb. chicken boneless pieces cut into thick strips or cubes
  2. 1/2 cup thick plain yogurt (curd)
  3. 2tbsp. lemon juice
  4. 1 tsp. red chili powder
  5. 1/2 tsp. black pepper powder
  6. 1tsp. roasted coriander powder
  7. 1 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  8. 2tbsp. lightly roasted chick pea flour (Besan)
  9. 1tbsp. sugar
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 1-2 tsp. clarified butter (Ghee)
  12. In a grinder make a paste of the following
    1. 4,5 cloves garlic
    2. 2,3 green chilies
    3. 1tsp. cumin seed
    4. 1 tsp. poppy seed
    5. 2 black cardamoms

Procedure


In a mixing bowl take all the wet and dry spices and mix them thoroughly. Season the mixture with salt and sugar. Taste and adjust accordingly.
Marinate the chicken strips with this spice mixture and let it rest for 3-4 hrs. In summer days keep it in the refrigerator.
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If you are using wooden skewers then pre-dip them in water for 30mins so that they don’t catch fire in the oven.
For electric oven preheat your oven at 350F. Skewer the chicken strips and brush with ghee. You might want to alternate chicken pieces with bell-pepper (capsicum) and onion. For electric oven grill for about 20-25 minutes turning the skewer frequently and basting with oil/ghee.
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For combination microwave ovens put it on micro+grill combination mode and cook it for 10 minutes on each side.
If you have a barbeque grill put the kebabs on the grill, use medium heat and cook for 10 minutes with frequent turning and basting as mentioned above. At the end you might want to higher the heat/flame to bring in a slightly charred effect.
Serve with some onion rings or your favorite chutney.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chital Maacher Muithya

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Chital maacher muithya is made because though Chital fish’s belly is tasty and oily and can be used in curries, the back is too bony to be eaten otherwise. So folks scrape out this back flesh and make fish balls out of them, which is called the Muithya. With time this has gained popularity as an exotic dish in family special occasions.

From the treasure trove of the local Bangladeshi store’s refrigerator I found a pack of frozen minced chital maach. This makes making muithya half as easy.

Ingredients For muithya

  1. 1 lb. flesh of chital  fish
  2. 1 medium sized boiled potato
  3. 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  4. 1 tbsp. grated garlic
  5. 1 tsp. chopped green chilies
  6. 1 tsp. Bengali garam masala
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Oil for deep frying

Procedure to make muithya

In a mixing bowl mix all the ingredients above other than oil and make lemon sized balls out of it. Take enough water in a deep kadai or sauce pan and bring it to a rolling boil.  Once it start boiling reduce the heat and gently slide the fish balls into it. Soon you will see the balls are loosing its raw color. You can now crank up the heat and allow the fish-balls to cook for 2 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on a paper towel.

In a wok heat oil for deep frying and fry the fish balls in batches till they turn golden brown. Remove from oil and your muithya is ready to go in the gravy.

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Ingredients for Gravy

  1. 2 medium sized potatoes cut into quarters
  2. 1 large onion cut into thin slices
  3. 1 tsp. ginger paste
  4. 1 tsp. garlic paste
  5. 2 heaped tbsp. tomato paste
  6. 1 tsp. sugar
  7. 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  8. 1 tbsp. chili powder
  9. 2-3 Bay leaves
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Oil
  12. 1 tsp. Bengali garam masala

Making The Gravy

Heat oil in a pan and temper with bay leaves. Add onion slices to it and fry on low heat till the sides of the onion take a caramelized brown color. Remove bay leaves from it and make a paste of the fried onions.

If you have oil left in your pan you can use the same or else add little more. To get a gorgeous red color add sugar to the oil. Throw the potato cubes to it and fry till they take a golden hue. Now add ginger, garlic and fried onion paste along with turmeric and chili powder. Fry on low temperature till the raw smell reduces. Add tomato paste to it and fry everything together till the oil gets separated from the masala.

Season with salt and give a nice mix. Add about a cup of water to it and reduce the heat. Cook it covered till the potato cubes are done. Remove the cover and taste the salt and sugar balance.

Now gently add the fish balls and mix them with the gravy. This gravy will have a thick consistency, so adjust accordingly.

Cook everything together on low heat for five minutes. Sprinkle Bengali garam masala powder and keep it covered till you serve.

Enjoy with a full plate of white rice.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Eggless Mango Cake

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My daughter’s school celebrates international cultural night every year. In her school there are 38 different native language speaking students. Representatives from these cultures setup booths and each student brings in a food item so that everyone gets to enjoy food from all across the world. It’s pretty amazing to walk down the hall and see their booths and then eat Mediterranean baklava, Indian bisi-bele-bath and Japanese sushi in one seating.

This year me and my friend Laxmi decided to make some fusion food. Coupling Mango into an eggless cake.

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup semolina (sooji)
  2. 1 cup sweetened mango pulp (canned or freshly made)
  3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1/4th cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  5. 1tsp. baking powder
  6. Golden raisins ( optional )

Procedure

Preheat oven at 350F.

In a bowl mix sooji with baking powder and keep aside.

Take a mixing bowl and mix butter and sugar till its creamy. Gradually add mango pulp to it and give a real good mix.

Now slowly add sooji mix to it and stir to combine. Sweetness of mango pulp varies with different brands, so it is better to check the sweetness and adjust at this point.

Grease a 9 inch baking pan and pour the cake mixture into it. Bake it in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow it to cool on a wire rack.

Cut it into squares and serve. I didn’t put  raisins for my daughter’s school event keeping in mind that some students might have allergic reaction. But it really looks good when you decorate each square with golden raisin.

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The same cake I made for a friend’s dinner party.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fish Batter Fry

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This time when I went to Kolkata my aunts teamed up and visited our home. Each cooked and brought their specialties. So I had a gala meal of pabdar-jhaal, chilli-chicken, payesh and fish batter-fry. The later is one of my favorite which somehow I had missed blogging about. Part of the reason is that we don’t get bhetki at Seattle. After returning to the US I attempted making batter fry with cod fillet which I got from the local Fred-Meyers and it turned out fantastic (if I may say so :))

For marinating

  1. 1 lb. rectangular shaped fish fillets ( preferably Betki, Cod can also be used)
  2. Juice of two limes
  3. Salt
  4. 2tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  5. 1 tbsp. onion paste
  6. 1 tsp. green chili paste

Wash the fillets and marinate them with salt and lime juice. After marinating for an hour wash them thoroughly with cold water and pat dry. This will get rid of undesired smell.

Now arrange the fillets in a wide dish. Add onion, ginger, garlic and green chili paste to it. Sprinkle salt over the fillets. Using your hands apply this spice mixture on both sides of the fillets. Let it rest for 3-4 hrs. In the summer days allow it to sit in the refrigerator.

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For the batter

  1. 1 cup all purpose flour or maida
  2. 2tbsp. corn starch
  3. 1tsp. baking powder
  4. 1/2 tsp. black pepper powder
  5. 1tsp. salt
  6. 1/4th cup oil
  7. 1 cup milk

Start making the batter half an hour before you want to fry the fillets. In a big mixing bowl take all purpose flour and whisk it with corn starch, salt, pepper and baking powder. Whisking these dry ingredients will make the fries more crispy.

Now add 1/4th cup of oil to it and mix till they combine well. Once thoroughly mixed, slowly add milk to it. Mix really well to make a thick homogenous batter.

Frying

In a wok or kadai heat enough oil for deep frying. Now dip each fillets in the batter and slide them carefully in the oil. Fry on medium heat till both sides turn golden brown. Remove them  with a slotted spoon and drain them on a paper towel.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Baked Salmon Steak with Asparagus

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jpg ALASKA AIR CARGO DELIVERS SEASON’S FIRST COPPER RIVER SALMON TO SEATTLEJust has people in my homeland is crazy about Hilsa, folks in US North West is absolutely crazy about Salmon. They go to great length to protect them. Like let cars skid around crazily in Winter snow, but still avoid spraying salt and other anti-skid material on the road, so that they don’t land in the streams and hurt these fishes.

When the first copper river salmon arrives in Seattle it gets a red carpet welcome and the flight captain carries it out to the waiting arms of the best Seattle chefs.

No wonder that it has turned into one of our favorite food. Salmon is best cooked without too many spices and eaten without condiments so that it’s true flavor is appreciated.

Ingredients

  1. 1lb salmon cut into steaks
  2. 10-12 steams of asparagus  
  3. 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  4. 1 tsp. grated ginger
  5. 1/4 tsp. clove powder
  6. 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
  7. 1/2 tsp. black pepper powder
  8. 2 tsp. butter
  9. Salt to taste

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Procedure

Wash the asparagus and trim off the hard part of the stem. Apply salt and black pepper powder to it and let it rest.

Clean the steak and pat it dry. In a bowl mix all the ingredients with butter and slather it on both sides of the fish steak. Keep it marinated for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven at 350F. Now place the marinated steak and the asparagus  on separate baking dishes and bake it for 15  minutes.

Check whether the steak is fully cooked or not.The flesh should no longer stay clear and turn whitish pink by this time. If you touch it with a fork it must look flaky. Asparagus will become crunchy after 15 minutes. If you want them soft take them out after 10 minutes.

Arrange them on a serving plate and enjoy.

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