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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Non-Veg Entrée – 2012

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It’s that time of the year, when you look back over the past year and think of all you have done. For bongcook that means finding the best recipes from 2012.

Here’s a list of the non-vegetarian entrée I made this year and loved the most. These are served with rice or breads. I will cover those in a subsequent post.

Sea-food

  1. Pabda Macher Jhaal
  2. Pyajkoli diye Tangra
  3. Doi Mach
  4. Macher Morich Jhol
  5. Chital Macher Muithya
  6. Prawn Paturi
  7. Lal-Kankra
  8. Rui Macher Sukha
  9. Borishali Rohu
  10. Tel Koi

Mutton

  1. Rogan Josh
  2. Kosha Mangso
  3. Bhuna Mutton
  4. Jackfruit with Mutton
  5. Mutton Chaap
  6. Railway Mutton Curry
  7. Kosha Mangsho Thakurbari Style
  8. Morich Mutton

Chicken

  1. Chicken Korma
  2. Kosha Murgi
  3. Palak Murg
  4. Roast
  5. Jhol
  6. Do Pyaja
  7. Jeera Chicken
  8. Chicken Daak Bungalow

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Snacks - 2012

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    It’s that time of the year, when you look back over the past year and think of all you have done. For bongcook that means finding the best recipes from 2012.

    Here’s a list of the snacks I made this year and loved the most. Friends I hope you enjoy them over the winter break. Spicy kebabs and snacks go very well on chilly winter days with a steaming cup of coffee or more spirited drinks.

    1. Vegetable Chop/Cutlet (veg)
    2. Egg Devil (egg)
    3. Kolkata Egg Roll (egg)
    4. Moglai Paratha (egg)
    5. Fish Batter Fry
    6. Chicken Tikka Wrap
    7. Chicken Resmi Kebab
    8. Chicken Lasuni Kebab
    9. Chicken Tikka
    10. Spicy Chicken Slider

    Monday, December 24, 2012

    Merry Christmas with Rich Fruit Cake

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    This is the time to fill up your hearts with Christmas carols, cakes and candies. This is the time of Santa’s annual visit. My daughter is diligently tracking Santa’s progress across the world using Norad’s website. He apparently has already delivered 4 billion gifts (as of the time of writing this post :))

    In our childhood there wasn’t the concept of rum-cake or the usage of a lot of spice powders in cake. My mom used to make a simple fruit cake in the pressure cooker. This year I decided to recreate the same recipe but in a oven.

    Ingredients

    1. 1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
    2. 2/3 cup granulated sugar ( I used less sugar to adjust the sweetness of the dry fruits )
    3. 1/2cup unsalted butter at room temperature
    4. 3 large eggs ( Yolks and white separated )
    5. 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    6. 1 cup mixed dry fruits ( I have used the following, you can add your own favorites )
      1. Raisin
      2. Dried cranberry
      3. Cashew
      4. Sliced almonds
      5. Glazed cherries

    Procedure

    Preheat the oven at 350F.

    Sieve all purpose flour and baking powder. Take a spoonful of this dry mixture and mix with all the dry fruits. This will prevent the dry fruits from sinking during baking.

    In a mixing bowl whisk the egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peak forms. It takes about 2 minutes. In a separate bowl beat egg yolks with butter and sugar till it becomes creamy.

    Now alternatively add the dry ingredients ( flour + baking powder ) and egg white to it. Gently fold them into the mixture using a spatula until incorporated.

    Add dry fruits to it and once again fold them into the prepared batter. Transfer the batter in a greased baking tin and bake for 30 minutes in the oven.

    Insert a knife at the center to check if the cake is done or not. If the knife comes out clear it means it is done. If not bake for few more minutes.

    Cool it on a wire rack before you cut and serve.

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    Enjoy with your friends and family and have a Merry Christmas!!

    Friday, December 21, 2012

    Prawn Pulao

    IMG_4592Since today the world was supposed to end, I didn’t cook anything. But then it was lunch time, the world was still hanging around and we were hungry. So I dug into the refrigerator (which wasn’t stocked that well either because of the world ending and all). I had some frozen prawns and decided to make one pot meal.

    Ingredients

    1. 1lb. tiger prawns
    2. 1/2 cup onion juice
    3. 1 cup gobindobhog or jeera rice
    4. 4,5 green chilies slit length wise
    5. 1tbsp. grated ginger
    6. 2,3 bay leaves or tejpatta
    7. Whole garam masala (1” cinnamon stick, 2-3 cloves and 2 green cardamoms)
    8. 4-5 tsp. ghee (clarified butter)
    9. 2tbsp. sugar
    10. Salt to taste

    Procedure

    Wash rice with several changes of water and spread them flat on a paper towel. Allow it to air dry for some time.

    Marinate prawns for 15 minutes with onion juice and salt. Heat 2 tsp. ghee in a pan and fry marinated prawns on medium heat till they turn pink. Remove fried prawns with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

    Add rest of the ghee to the pan and allow it to melt. Temper with bay leaf and slightly bruised garam masala. Wait till you get the fragrances of them. Now add green chilies to it and sauté for a minute. Remove green chilies and reserve them for later use.

    Now add rice to it and fry on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Fry till you see all grains of rice glisten and are well coated with ghee. This step ensures that all the rice grains stay separate and will not become sticky when your pulao is done.

    IMG_4583Add grated ginger, salt and sugar to the rice. Mix everything well. Pour one and half cup of war water to it. Cook it covered on medium heat till rice is almost done.

    Remove the cover and add fried prawns and green chilies to it. Continue cooking till rice is completely done. Leave it uncovered and fluff gently with a fork.

    This is a one pot meal and doesn’t require anything else to be served with it. 

    Friday, December 14, 2012

    Stone Fruit Cake

    IMG_1234Approaching Christmas means baking time :). All the stores around are filled with baking supplies and I didn’t need any more prompting!!

    Stone fruit cake which is a favorite of mine is made with “stone fruits”. These are fruits with single large seeds at their center (like stones). Examples would include plum, peach and apricot. The cake looks nice because the procedure of making it ensures that the fruits do not sink to the bottom of the cake, but rather peek out of it from the top.

    IngredientsIMG_4561

    1. 200gms all purpose flour (maida)
    2. 150gms granulated sugar
    3. 100gms butter + extra for greasing the pan
    4. 2 large eggs
    5. 2tsp. baking powder
    6. Stone fruits of your choice. (It is better to avoid canned fruits. since they are ultra moist, the cake will become soggy)
        1. 1 peach (taste peach and other fruits. If sour adjust the quantity of sugar)
        2. 2 apricots
        3. I used few dried cranberries along with them.

    Procedure

    Preheat oven at 180F. Prepare a baking tray lined with a butter paper.

    Whisk flour and baking powder in a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 3-5 minutes till light and fluffy.

    Add eggs one at a time and scrap down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

    Add the flour mixture in two increments, mixing just until a soft, smooth dough forms.

    Divide the dough into two portions. One slightly larger than the other. Allow the smaller portion to chill in a refrigerator.

    Dollop the larger portion onto the lined baking pan. Pat the pan to spread it around.

    Cut fruits into small pieces. Scatter them over the batter. Generously sprinkle sugar on top of them if they are sour.

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    Take out the chilled batter from the refrigerator and dollop small balls of dough over the fruit with a spoon.

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    Now transfer your baking tray inside the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or till they turn golden brown.

    Cool before you serve. Since this contains fresh fruits this needs to be refrigerated for preservation.

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    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    Chicken Daak Bungalow

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    This recipe comes from another era, when people used to travel and stay in forest and daak (mail) guest houses that littered the country-side. The care-taker of these British era bungalows had simple kitchen at their disposal and in that they would whiff up simple yet extremely well tasting concoction of spices. They would use the simple mortar and pestle to pound the spices, this coarse spice mixture is the signature of this recipe.

    A decade ago we had travelled to a small hill station called Kemanagundi from Bangalore. We stayed in a non-descript department of horticulture guest house. The caretaker literally ran and caught a chicken from the courtyard and prepared this for us with his hand ground simple spices. I still remember the fun of having daak-bungalow chicken under the light of lanterns, wrapped up in blankets to fight the bitter cold.

    Today the daak-bungalow chicken has left the confines of the bungalows and is a common specialty item served in Bengali themed restaurants in Kolkata.

    ingredients

    1. 1.5 lb. chicken cut into medium pieces on bones
    2. 3 medium potatoes cut into halves 
    3. 2 medium onions cut into big pieces 
    4. 7-8 garlic cloves
    5. 1” ginger
    6. 1tsp. turmeric powder
    7. 5-6 whole red chilies broken in irregular pieces and crushed  
    8. 2,3 bay leaves
    9. Whole garam masala ( 1’ cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamoms and 2-3 cloves roughly crushed )
    10. 1tsp. sugar
    11. Salt to taste
    12. 2,3 tsp. oil  ( I used mustard oil, you can go for any refined oil like canola )

    Procedure

    Clean chicken pieces and smear them with turmeric powder. Keep them aside.

    Now take onion, ginger, garlic and crush them roughly using your pestle. If you have Sheel Nora then nothing like it. Use your nora (stone rolling pin) and you will be done in no time. Fine chopping and paste will not bring the flavor you want, so just crush them.

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    Heat oil in a pan and fry potato halves till they turn golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside. Temper the same oil with bay leaves and crushed whole garam masala. Let them sizzle for a while. Now add crushed onion, ginger and garlic to the oil and fry on medium heat for about five minutes.

    Add chicken pieces to it and fry them on high heat for a while. Add crushed red chilies, salt and sugar to it. Throw the fried potato halves in and mix everything well so the chicken and potato pieces are nicely coated with oil and spices.

    Pour about 2 cups of warm water and bring it to a boil. Cook it covered till chicken is done. Potato halved will also be cooked by this time.

    Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. Serve with a plateful of plain white ice.   

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    Monday, December 10, 2012

    Borishali Rohu/Rui

    IMG_5735This is a simple recipe used for making Hilsa in Bangladesh. While chatting with my Mashi over phone she told me that she was making it for lunch. I didn’t have Hilsa at home and so I decided to try the same recipe with Rohu.

    Even though simple spices are used, the distinct taste of coconut milk with kalonji (nigella) paste gives it an unique flavor.

    Ingredients

    1. 4 pieces of fish cut into steaks
    2. 1tsp. kalonji ( Nigella Seeds )
    3. Few green chilies slit lengthwise
    4. 1tbsp. green chili paste
    5. 1tsp. ginger paste
    6. 1tsp. nigella seeds paste ( Kalonji paste )
    7. 2tsp. turmeric powder
    8. 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
    9. 1/2 cup milk
    10. Salt to taste
    11. Mustard oil

    Procedure

    Smear fish steaks with salt and half turmeric powder.Keep them marinated for 15 minutes.

    Heat oil in a wok(Kadai) and fry the fish steaks till both surfaces turn golden yellow. Remove with a slotted soon and keep them aside.

    In a small bowl mix all wet paste and keep handy. Now temper the same oil with kalonji and when they stop sputtering add the wet spice mixture to it. Lower the flame and sauté for a while. Sprinkle turmeric powder to it and fry little more.

    Once you are sure that all the raw smell has subsided, add coconut milk to it. Gently slide in the fish steaks and crank up the heat. When the gravy start boiling, lower the heat and add little warm milk to it. Cook it uncovered for 5 minutes.

    Add green chilies and turn off the heat. Drizzle some mustard oil over it and serve with a plate of hot steaming rice.

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Jeera chicken (Cumin flavored chicken)

    IMG_4456Some days back when I was driving my daughter and her friend Raghu for Halloween, I heard an interesting backseat conversation.

    Raghu said “Prokriti do you know that we are animals”. She replied, “yes we are mammals”. Raghu then said “yeah and soon we will be extinct like dinosaurs”. When I asked my daughter whether she knows what extinction is, she said “its like never coming back, like the foods you cook only once and after blogging you never cook them back”.

    I have made so many stuff over the years and haven’t blogged about them, that these days rarely I make anything special twice. Jeera chicken is one of those, by popular demand I have to make it again one of these days.

    Ingredients

    1. 1lb. chicken boneless (cut into strips)
    2. 1 medium onion chopped
    3. 1tsp. ginger paste
    4. 1tbsp. garlic paste
    5. 1tbsp. green chili paste
    6. 1tsp. turmeric powder
    7. 4tsp. cumin seeds
    8. 1tsp. black peppercorn
    9. 2tbsp. plain yogurt
    10. 4-5 green chilies slit lengthwise
    11. 1tsp sugar
    12. 2 bay leaves
    13. 2 black cardamom
    14. Salt to taste
    15. 2tbsp. refined white oil

    Procedure

    Dry roast 3tsp. whole cumin seeds and 1tsp. black peppercorn. Grind them to make a coarse powder and store it  for later use.

    Heat oil in a wok and temper it with 1tsp. whole cumin seeds, cardamoms and bay leaves. After it stops spluttering add chopped onion to it and fry them on medium high heat till they take a nice tan. Now add green chilies to it and fry till they release their zingy flavor.

    Add the chicken pieces and sear them on high heat along with onion and chilies. Wait till they loose their raw color and turn light brown. Turn the heat off.

    In a bowl beat the yogurt along with all dry and wait spices. Once you are sure that the chicken has cool down a bit add the yogurt mixture to it. Mix everything well and then turn on the heat. cook on low heat till oil starts oozing out.

    Now add salt and sugar to it and cook them covered on medium heat for another 10-15 minutes. This is a dry dish so allow the excess moisture to evaporate.

    Sprinkle ground cumin and pepper powder over it and keep it covered till you serve.

    Goes well with phulkas and rotis.

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    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Tel Koi

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    Based on whom you ask, Koi can turn out to be very different fishes. For us Koi is the climbing perch or Anabas, it is not the fancy oriental Koi.

    At the beginning of our stay in the Pacific North West, we managed with the local fish and cooked things like Salmon-er Jhaal. However, there is so much you can manage with.

    When my dad came visiting us I hunted around town and located a good Bangladeshi fish-store. On my first visit I found some Koi and decided to make the authentic Bengali Tel Koi in all its mustard oil glory.

    If you buy one of those frozen Koi’s, make sure that it is indeed void of scales. In particular check the head and neck area and take care to remove all remaining scales. In my first attempt I didn’t do it and had to rename the dish to “aash koi” :)

    Ingredients

    1. 4 pieces Koi fish washed and cleaned
    2. 1tbsp. ginger paste
    3. 1tsp. turmeric powder
    4. 1tbsp. chili powder
    5. 1/2tsp. cumin powder
    6. 1tsp. coriander powder
    7. 2tbsp. plain yogurt
    8. 2 bay leaves
    9. 4-5 green chilies
    10. 1tsp. sugar
    11. Salt to taste
    12. Mustard oil

    Procedure

    Rub turmeric powder and salt to the fish and keep it marinated for 15 minutes. In a wok heat enough mustard oil and shallow fry the fishes one by one. remove with a slotted spoon and keep them aside.

    In a small mixing bowl make mix turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin and coriander powder with ginger paste and little water and keep it ready.

    Now temper the same oil with bay leaves and green chilies. Add the paste paste to it and keep sautéing till oil seeps out of masala. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool down  a little.

    In the mean time, beat 2tbsp. yogurt and 1tsp. sugar with a fork. Once you are sure that the yogurt mixture is lump free add and mix it well with the fried spices. Turn the heat on to low and cook for a while.

    Add a cup of water to it and season with salt. Let the gravy come to a boil. Now gently release the fried fishes one at a time in the gravy. Throw some more green chilies in it. Allow it to cook for 3-5 minutes before you turn them over. Cook for another 2 minutes and turn off the heat.

    Goes great with white rice.

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