Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chaana Posto (Cottage Cheese with Poppy Seed Paste)

IMG_6657

After cooking and eating a bunch of special stuff over the weekend, I try to give myself some rest on Mondays. So for Monday lunch I prefer making something quick and simple for myself. Given that poppy seeds are known to induce sleep it helps me recover from the hectic weekend as well.

Ingredients

  • Chaana made out of 2 cups milk (see my rosogolla post on how to make chaana at home)
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • 4tbsp. poppy seeds grind into a fine paste with 1 green chili
  • 2tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1tsp. sugar
  • salt to taste

Special Utensil

  • Pressure cooker
  • Steel/Aluminum tiffin box

Procedure

In a bowl mix all ingredients above together and transfer the content into the tiffin box. Cover the lid tightly.

Pour water in a pressure cooker and place the box so that half of its is down the water. Make sure you don’t cover the tiffin box with water.

Pressure cook it on high heat for 2 whistles. open the lid when the pressure settles down. Enjoy with some white rice and an extra dash of mustard oil.

IMG_6652

Monday, April 29, 2013

Aloo Pakoda

IMG_6860

We have an old neighbor who is also originally from my original countries neighboring country. Go figure :).

She is 82 and an amazing cook. Like every amazing cook, she is picky about what she eats. When I was chit-chatting with her, she told me that she likes to eat pakora. When I asked her of the exact kind she likes, she gave me this mini-recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 potatoes
  • 1.5 cup besan (Chickpea flour)
  • 1/2tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2tsp. turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • Oil for deep frying

Procedure

Peel potatoes and cut them into thin round slices. Dunk the slices into a bowlful of cold water. This will help retain the color of the potato.

Mix all dry ingredients together. Add water little at a time and make a medium thick batter. Make sure the batter doesn’t have any lumps.

Heat oil in a wok. Take each potato slice out of the water, dip it in batter and gently slide in medium hot oil. Fry till it turns crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Sprinkle black salt all over and serve.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cat Fish Curry (Magur Macher Dalna)

IMG_3136

We love the Uwajimaya stores around Seattle. They have great collection of fresh fish. One of the things we frequently pick up, when we are at their store is magur (walking cat-fish). Magur is common fed to people when they are sick. I have heard various logic including the fact that they apparently promote blood development. Not sure about the science behind this claim but well made magur is very tasty.

IMG_3127Ingredients

  • 4-5 pieces of cat fish steaks
  • 2 medium potatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 medium onion finely sliced
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1 tomato cut into quarters
  • 2 tbsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp.Bengali garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil

Procedure

Take the fish steaks and sprinkle about 1tbsp. of salt to it. Gently rub fish pieces with salt and then wash thoroughly in running water. This fish is slimy and by washing it with salt you can get rid of the slime.

Add 1tbsp. turmeric powder and little salt to it and marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat mustard oil in a wok or kadai till it smokes. Reduce the heat and gently release the fish steaks into the hot oil. Fry on medium heat till all sides turn golden yellow, then remove.

You can reuse the oil for gravy or if you want you can discard and use fresh oil. Heat up the oil again and slightly brown the onion slices. Add potato cubes to it and fry them along with onion for some time.

Add the tomato quarters and follow by ginger garlic paste.

Sprinkle turmeric and chili powder and fry everything together till the potato cubes are well coated with spices and the raw smell subsides.

Add 1 cup of water to it and season with salt and sugar. Mix well. Let it cook on medium heat till potato cubes are just done.

Now add fish steaks to the gravy and simmer for another 5 minutes.

When most of the moisture is dried up and the oil separates, sprinkle garam masala powder and turn off the heat.

Serve with plain hot rice.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kechki Maacher Jhuri

IMG_4450

Kechki fish generally floats on the top of rivers and make the water shimmer with it’s silver color. I have heard stories from my aunts about how they used to catch them with theirs cotton towels after a dip in the river in their childhood.

In Bangladesh spicy dry fish curry is common. These are called jhuri which indicates that the curry is dry. Kechki was easily available in Kolkata before. However, it slowly turned into a rarity. Thanks to our local Bangladeshi store, we get it pretty easily here.

IMG_4442Ingredients

  • Kechki fish
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato finely chopped
  • 3-4 green chilies lengthwise slit
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic roughly pound
  • A fistful of chopped coriander leaves (Cilantro)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 4-5 tbsp. mustard oil

Procedure

Wash the fish and drain the water. Add turmeric powder and salt to it and marinate for 15 minutes.

Heat mustard oil in a pan till it smokes. Now reduce the heat and add chopped onions and green chilies to it. Fry on medium heat till the edges get a nice caramel color.

Add garlic cloves to it and fry for few more minutes till you get a nice aroma of fried garlic. Now add tomatoes, followed by chili powder. Sauté on medium heat till tomato becomes mushy. Now add the cleaned fish to it. Discard any excess water released by the fish.

Keep frying the fish on medium heat till they are nicely coated with spices. This is the time you adjust salt and add sugar to balance. Keep on frying on medium heat till the moisture is all dried up and oil is separated. It takes about 5-10 minutes on medium heat.

Add chopped coriander leaves and mix once again before you serve.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chichinge Chingri (Snake Gourd with Shrimp)

IMG_7395

IMG_7388

This is one of those things which I make when my husband is not around. He feels it’s waste of shrimp and will only pick the shrimps out and eat them and not touch the vegetables. However, me and my daughter love this kind of traditional Bengali food with rice for lunch.

Ingredients

  • 2- 3 snake gourds
  • 10 – 12 medium sized prawns deveined and cleaned
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut (I used frozen one)
  • 2 – 3 green chilies slit lengthwise
  • 1tsp. kalonji (Nigella Seeds)
  • 1tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 – 4 tsp. mustard oil

Procedure

Wash snake gourds and scrape off the skin. Slice them into thin half moons.

Rub prawns with salt and half of the turmeric powder and keep aside for10 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan and fry the prawns till they turn pink. Remove and reserve them for later use. We want to retain the flavor of the prawns so temper the same oil with kalonji and green chilies. When they stop sizzling add chopped onion to it and fry on very low heat till they turn really soft. Now add grated coconut and fry it along with the onion on low flame till you get a nice aroma of fried coconut. It will take about 2 – 3 minutes.

Add chopped snake gourd followed by turmeric powder, salt and sugar. Mix everything well and cook them covered on low heat till the vegetable turns soft. Snake gourd will release enough water, so you really don’t have to add any. Throw the fried prawns in and cook them together for another 3 – 4 minutes. Remove and serve with hot rice.   

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Loytta / Loitta Maacher Jhuri

IMG_8752This fish is known by different names and spellings. In West Bengal and Bangladesh it is Loytta or Loitta and in Mumbai it is known as Bombil or Bombay-Duck.

Loytta is a very soft and mushy fish and hence can be cooked without additional water. However, it does need a lot of oil, and hence is not a good option for the health freak.

Ingredients

  • 2lb. loitya maach or Bombay Duck cleaned and washed
  • 2 medium sized onion thinly sliced
  • 1 medium tomato finely chopped
  • 10 – 12 fat cloves of garlic crushed  
  • 5 – 6 green chilies finely chopped
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1tsp. chili powder  
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander leaves (Cilantro)
  • 1tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 – 6 tbsp. mustard oil

Procedure

Smear the fish with half tsp. turmeric and salt. Now take a pan and arrange them in a single layer. Turn the heat on low and cook the fish for 2-3 minutes before you turn them over. The fish will release enough water, so don’t add any more. Wait till the other side gets cooked. Turn off the heat.

When you feel it’s cool enough to touch, remove the central bone. Hold one side of the bone and just pull it apart.

Heat oil in a pan and add chopped onion, and garlic to it. Fry on low heat till they turn light brown. Now add chopped green chilies and tomato to and fry them till the tomato turns mushy. Add turmeric, chili powder and fry till the raw smell of spices subside.

Add fish and keep frying it with the spices till the oil separates out from the spices. Now add salt, sugar and mix everything well. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro before you serve.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Shrikhand with Greek Yogurt

IMG_8904

My dad has been known to suggest yogurt as the cure of everything from head-aches to leg sprain and everything in between. Given that he had worked his entire life in Dairy Development Authority in Kolkata, he is a “bit” biased. Today is his birthday. He is thousands of miles away and I cannot really make him anything for today, but still in his honor todays recipe is yoghurt based.

This desert is from Western India and I learned it from my Maharashtrian friend Sonali. It is made with strained yogurt and flavored with saffron and cardamom. Traditionally the yogurt is strained overnight to drain out the excess whey which makes this process little lengthy. I used fat free Greek yogurt because its already thickened.

Ingredient

  • 5 cups of Greek yogurt or 7cups of plain yogurt
  • 3 cups sugar (Quantity varies depending how sweet you want)
  • A handful of almond and pistachio sliced
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp. warm milk
  • 1 tsp. saffron strands

Procedure

In a bowl heat 2 tbsp. milk for 10 seconds. Add the saffron strands to it and set aside.

In a mixing bowl take the yogurt and add sugar, cardamom powder and saffron infused milk to it. Blend everything well with a hand or electric blender. It will make your desert super creamy.

Place this mixture in the refrigerator for 3- 4 hours to fuse the flavors together.

Serve in small glasses and garnish with chopped almonds and pistachios.

Note: If you are using plain yogurt follow these steps

Place a strainer lined with cheese cloth on a big bowl. Now pour yogurt in the strainer and keep it overnight in the refrigerator to drain out the whey.

It is important to keep the yogurt in the cool place so that it doesn’t turn sour.

Use the strained yogurt or shrikhand and you can either discard the whey or can use it for making buttermilk, kaadi or chapatti dough.

IMG_8913

Friday, April 19, 2013

Kerala Mutton Stew

IMG_7669

I first had this in Thiruvananthapuram, in god own country, Kerala. We were served the mutton stew along with appam. This is mildly spiced and very soothing in the coconut milk broth. It goes great with steaming white rice as well.

Ingredients

  • 1lb. mutton (I used goat Meat)
  • 1” ginger cut into thin strips
  • 5 – 6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes cut into halves
  • 1 medium carrot cut into big chunks
  • 5 – 6 French beans cut into 2” long pieces
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 5 – 6 green chilies slit lengthwise
  • 2, 3 bay leaves
  • 1 twig of curry leaves
  • 1tsp. pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Whole garam masala
    • 1” cinnamon stick
    • 2,3 cloves
    • 2 green cardamom
    • 2 star anise

Procedure

Heat oil in a cooker. Add garam masala and wait till you smell the fragrance. Add chopped ginger, garlic to it. Fry on medium heat.

Add other vegetables and sauté them on high heat for few minutes. Add mutton pieces and sear them on high heat. Add bay leaves and salt to it and mix well. Pressure cook it for five minutes.

Let the steam settle down. Add crushed black pepper powder and curry leaves and stir well. Pour thick coconut milk and cook everything together for another five minutes.

Traditionally this stew is served with appam.

IMG_7672

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Keema Cutlet

IMG_7450

In Kolkata just around movie theatres there are these small restaurants/café’s which serve tea and various kinds of chops and cutlets. I think they are remnant of the British era. People flock to these cafés to have evening snacks after watching some bollywood flick. However, I cannot imagine having another dinner post this heavy snack. So for us now, I make this as dinner. We have it along with some great artisan bread and olive oil. Global food at its best.

Ingredients

  • 1lb. mutton keema (minced meat)
  • 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1tsp. chopped ginger
  • 5 – 6 green chilies finely chopped
  • Handful o finely chopped cilantro
  • 1tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  • 1isp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. dry roasted besan ( Chickpea flour)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt
  • Refined vegetable oil for frying

Procedure

In a pan boil mutton keema with salt and 1/2tsp. garam masala powder. Cook it covered on medium flame till they are soft and all the moisture released from the meat is dried up.

Bring it to the room temperature.

Add chopped ingredients, all dry spices and roasted besan. break one egg and add into it. Mix well.

Start making the cutlets by giving them a oval shape.

Heat enough oil for deep frying. Beat one egg in a dish. Dip each cutlet in the egg wash and roll them in bread crumbs. Deep fry till golden brown.

I served with some bread and salad for our dinner. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Aloo Phulkopi-r Chorchori (Dry Potato-Cauliflower Curry)

IMG_7543

I just posted about making Bengali Triangular Paratha. The most common accompaniment to these parathas were aloo-phulkopir chorcori, especially in the winter when fresh cauliflowers were easily available in the market. Generally a breakfast of paratha’s and chorchori was followed by some nolen gurer sondesh.

This is super simple to make, fresh cauliflowers and green-chilies dominate the flavor. In today’s world it’s hard to fresh cauliflowers (or for that matter anything). We hunt our local farmer’s market to get our share.

Ingredients

  • 3 – 4 medium sized potatoes cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups small florets of cauliflower
  • 3 – 4 green chilies
  • 1tsp. nigella seed (Kalonji)
  • 1tsp. turmeric powder
  • 3 – 4tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

Heat oil in a pan and temper it with green chilies and nigella seeds. Let them sizzle before you add cauliflower florets to it. Sauté for a minute or two till you smell the fragrance of cauliflower. Add potato cubes. Sprinkle salt, sugar and turmeric powder.

Mix everything well and cook on medium heat for 2- 3 minutes. Add half cup water and cook it covered on low heat till the vegetables are done. You may crank up the heat now to dry the excess moisture.

Serve with triangular paratha and nolen gurer sondesh.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bengali Triangular Paratha

IMG_7532

This was the most common weekend breakfast in our childhood. These parathas serves as great travel food. In our childhood we used to take them on the multi-day train journeys and now we wrap them in aluminum foils and take it on our road-trips. I have never seen other non-Bengali, Indian households to make them in triangular shape, and hence the Bengali qualifier in the post title.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (Maida)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour(Atta) + some dry flour for rolling
  • 1tsp. salt
  • 1tsp. sugar
  • Oil or ghee as needed

Procedure

In a big bowl mix all the dry ingredients with your hand. Add 2tsp. oil and rub the flour with it till it takes a crumb texture.

Add water, little at a time and knead well to make a medium soft dough. Wrap it with a kitchen towel for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into equal sized balls – about a size of lemon.

Flour the rolling surface and roll each portion into a thick disc of about 6inch diameter. Smear the top surface with a drop of oil and fold the disc along the diameter to form a semi circle.

IMG_7529

Smear another drop of oil on this half and fold over again. This will now take a shape of triangle.

IMG_7530

Roll it with gentle pressure without disturbing its triangular shape. Parathas will be little thick so don’t roll it too thin.

IMG_7531

Heat a tawa and place each paratha at a time. Cook each side on medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes before you turn. Gently press the paratha to spread the heat evenly. When the center of the paratha puffs up add a spoon of oil along its edges. Cook till you see light brown spots all over the surface. Flip it over and again add a spoon of oil to fry the other side. Remove after you see golden flecks all over.

Serve hot with alu phulkopir chorchori (dry potato and cauliflower curry).

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sondesh / Sandesh

IMG_6301

Wishing all my bong friends a sweet new year.

Till date my most read blog is Nolen Gurer Sondesh/Sandesh With Ricotta Cheese. That is an easier to make version of the famous Bengali sweet (as it uses the readily available Ricotta Cheese). Even though it comes out decent, it has a slight salty taste due to the cheese. In todays post I will cover “the original” bong Sondesh, made with your own hand made chana (cottage cheese).

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1tsp + 1pinch saffron
  • 1cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar diluted in 1/2 cup water
  • 10 pistachios crushed

Special Utensil

  • Colander (or large strainer)
  • Cheese cloth (clean white cotton cloth)
  • Mould (optional)

Procedure Of Making Chaana

In a heavy bottom pan take the milk along with saffron and bring it to a boil. You will see within few minutes the saffron will start releasing its color. Once it starts boiling reduce the heat and slowly pour diluted vinegar to it while stirring the milk.

IMG_6385

Soon the milk will start curdling. It means the milk solids will get 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 3-4 hours to drain out the last drop of whey.

Take chaana out of the cheese cloth and knead it with gentle pressure  to make it smooth and lump free. Take the chaana, sugar, cream and a pinch of saffron in a heavy bottom pan and cook on low heat. Stir continuously so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Cook till it thickens and forms a lump together. Remove from heat and and let it sit down till the heat is tolerable to touch.

You can give them any shape you like by using your fingers or you can use readymade moulds.

Grease the mould with little ghee or butter. Sprinkle a pinch of crushed pistachio over it. Now take a small portion of the mixture and press it down on the mould. Smoothen the edges and carefully take it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Prawn Korma

IMG_7611

This was so tasty that right now while writing this post I am having the urge to make it again :). However, this is one of those things in which you cannot compromise on the quantity of oil and hence this is not something we can eat everyday.

I made this for some guests who were coming over. However, they got stuck on the earlier course of Muri-Ghonto and barely arrived to the Prawn Korma. So there were a lot of left overs which we didn’t really mind.

Ingredients

  1. 2lb. large tiger shrimps/prawns
  2. 1 small onion ground into fine paste
  3. 1/4 cup fine paste of fresh or frozen coconut
  4. 1 large ripe red tomato
  5. 1tbsp. ginger paste
  6. 1tsp. garlic paste
  7. 1/2tsp. green chili paste
  8. 1tsp. Kashmiri red chili powder (Paprika)
  9. 2tsp. turmeric powder
  10. 2 – 3 bay leaves
  11. 1tsp. sugar
  12. 1tbsp. clarified butter (Ghee)
  13. 6 – 7tbsp. mustard oil ( Yes, you need more oil to make this)
  14. 1tsp. freshly ground garam masala powder (Clove, cinnamon, green cardamom, black cardamom)
  15. Salt to taste

Procedure

Start with cleaning and deveining. If you want, you can keep the head and tail on. My daughter and husband don’t enjoy those so I removed them. Instead to extract the maximum flavor out of it, I boiled 4 cups of water with the shell, head and tail for 30 minutes on low heat and keep the strained prawn stock. I used this stock instead of water to make the gravy.

Smear the prawns with salt and turmeric and keep aside for 15 minutes.

Heat mustard oil in a kadai and fry the prawns in batches till they turn pink. Remove them.

Temper the left over oil with bay leaf and add sugar to it. Lower the heat and let the sugar caramelize. Add onion paste along with turmeric powder, red chili powder and a tsp. of garam masala to it and fry on low heat for about 5 – 6 minutes.

Now one by one add ginger, garlic, tomato and chili paste to it. Sauté and cook them on low heat for another 5 – 6 minutes. Check whether all raw smell subsides or not. If not cook for another few minutes.

Next to go in is coconut paste. Mix everything well and fry the masala on low heat for few minutes. If needed you may add little water to it so that the spices don’t stick to the vessel.

Season it with salt and sugar. Soon you will see a thin line of oil is separated out from the spices. This is the time you add one and half cup of water ( I used prawn stock) to it. Stir well and let it come to a rolling boil.

Gently slide the fried prawns in and cook for 3 – 5 minutes. Overcooking makes prawn stiff so be careful.

Taste and check the seasoning, if required adjust accordingly.

Add a dollop of ghee and finish it off with a pinch of garam masala powder.

IMG_7613

Monday, April 8, 2013

Shrimp and Lentil Fritter (Pakora)

IMG_6736

Having grown up as a single child of working parents, I had to; and liked spending some alone time. Even now and then I need that space for myself. My idea of spending such time is to curl up with some hot tea, pakora and a great book (preferably a detective novel). Everyone close to me knows of this. Sometime when I am stressed out, even my daughter goes and tells her father that they should head out biking or in the mountains to let mama get her “alone time”.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red lentil ( Musur Dal ) washed and soaked for 3-4hrs.
  • 1 cup tiny shrimps ( You can 10 – 15 bigger shrimps alternatively )
  • 1tbsp. chopped ginger
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 hot green chilies ( Use 1 if kids are eating )
  • 2tsp. chopped coriander leaves ( Cilantro )
  • 1/2tsp. baking powder
  • 2tbsp. besan ( Bengal gram flour )
  • 1/2tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

Procedure

Drain excess water from the soaked dal and grind it into a coarse paste with garlic and green chilies. Transfer the content from the grinder to a mixing bowl.

If you are using larger shrimps  clean and devein them and then churn them in a blender. We don’t want paste of shrimps, so just use the pulse mode for few seconds. For tiny shrimps use as they are.

Mix all ingredients together other than oil. If you feel that the mixture is still loose you can add little more besan or rice flour for binding. Make small balls out of it.

In a wok heat enough oil for deep frying and drop the balls in it. Fry on medium heat till both sides turn light brown. Crank up the heat to high and fry for few more minutes to make them crispy. Remove and drain them on a paper towel.

Serve hot with your favorite chutney or ketchup.

IMG_6734

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kopi Bhape (Cauliflower in Mustard Paste)

IMG_7675

I cook different things for different people. This is something I cook for myself. I love Kopi Bhape. When I was young eating this for lunch in the Wintery afternoons was a special attraction. My mom used the freshest cauliflowers of the season and made it in copious quantities for me :)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized cauliflower cut into medium florets
  • 2 – 3tbsp. of mustard paste (Mix yellow and black mustard along with one green chili to make the paste)
  • 1 tsp. kalonji seed (Nigella Seeds)
  • 2 – 3 green chilies slit lengthwise
  • 1tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2tsp. chopped cilantro (Coriander leaves)
  • 1tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 – 6 tbsp. mustard oil

Procedure

Take water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Add salt to it and stir till it is dissolved. Now add cauliflower florets to it and cook them on high heat for 3 – 4 minutes. Drain the water and keep the florets aside.

Take oil in a wok and heat till it smokes. Reduce the heat and temper with nigella seeds and green chilies. Wait till they stop spluttering. Add cauliflower florets and sauté them on high heat for a minute.

Add turmeric powder, salt and sugar. Mix everything well and then cook them covered till the cauliflower is 80% done. Cauliflower will be cooked in its own juice, so you don’t have to add any extra water.

Add mustard paste to it and mix gently so that all the florets are coated with the paste. Now cover and cook till the vegetable turns soft. Switch off the heat and drizzle some extra drops of mustard oil and add chopped cilantro to garnish.

Best enjoyed with steamed white rice.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Homemade Strawberry Jam

IMG_7660

Kids love jam, however, they are jammed with artificial colors, flavors, corn-syrup, preservatives, and god knows what. Some even proudly announce that there is no natural fruits in it. Reading the label feels more like walking down a chemistry store’s isle than food ingredients.

My daughter likes jam on her bread. So I make various kinds of Jams at home and use that instead. I also go light on the sugar to ensure it remains healthy as well.

To prepare jam always first simmer the fruit and sugar really slowly. This process extracts fruit’s natural pectin and retains the bright colors.

Ingredients

  • 2lb.strawberries washed and cut into halves
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 and 1/2 cup of sugar

Procedure

First we need to sterile the jar which we will use for storing so that the jam is preserved for a long time without any chemical preservatives. In a wide and deep saucepan take water. Place the open jar along with its lid in the water. Let it boil for 10 – 15 minutes. Once sterilized take out the jar and the lid with a clean tong and let it sit for 10 minutes.

In a heavy bottom pan take strawberries and crush them with a potato masher (or backside of large spoon). Add lime juice and sugar to it. Keep stirring them on medium heat till sugar dissolves.

Now crank up the heat up to a high and bring it to a boil. Let it come to a rolling boil. Remove any scum from the top.

Cook on high heat till it thickens. Do a wrinkle test before you turn off the heat. Place 1tsp. of jam into the refrigerator for a minute. Touch it with your finger and if it wrinkles like skin, it is ready. If not boil for another 5 – 10 minutes and then check.

Pour jam into the warm jar when the jam is still warm. Let them cool down completely before sealing.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hyderabadi Kacchi Gosth Biryani

IMG_7645

Biriyani is just a name for traditional Indian way of cooking meat and rice. How it is cooked and what is added varies drastically across India. In one such variation meat is cooked separately with gravy and then mixed with half-cooked rice and put on the final “dum” (slow cooking). In another, marinated raw meat is layered in rice and spices and cooked together. The meat in this case is kacchi or raw. As you can guess this is what I cover in todays post.

This recipe comes from the Hyderabad Nizams kitchen. One of our relatives (Habu Dadu) ran away from home at a young age and finally with a lot of twists of fate landed as the apprentice of the Hyderabad Nizams chief chef. He worked in the Nizam’s kitchen for many years and finally retired in Kolkata. When he used to visit our home he used to come with his own bag of spices and cook for us. It used to be a grand feast which I remember till this date. Todays recipe dedicated to his fond memories.

Ingredients

For Marinating

  • 1kg mutton cut into medium pieces on bone
  • 2 large onions thinly sliced
  • 1tbsp. salt
  • 1/2tsp. sugar
  • 1tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1tbsp. garlic paste
  • 1tbsp. green chili paste
  • 1tbsp. garam masala ( You can use Biryani masala of your favorite brand)
  • 1tsp. red chili powder
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 250gms curd (Yogurt)
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1 bunch mint leaves finely chopped

For Rice

  • 500gms. basmati rice
  • 2 – 3tbsp. salt
  • 50gms. ghee (Clarified butter)
  • 1tsp. saffron soaked in quarter cup of warm milk

 

Required Appliance

 

Procedure

Soak basmati rice for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the onion slices till they are brown. Remove and drain them on a paper towel.

Arrange mutton in layers in a heavy bottom pan. Add Half of the fried onion, ginger-garlic paste, green chili paste, chili powder, garam masala powder, salt, sugar, yoghurt, oil, lemon juice, chopped coriander and mint leaves to it. Mix everything well with mutton  and keep it marinated for 3-4 hours.

By the meantime in a pan take water along with 2- 3  tbsp. salt and bring to a rolling boil. Stir it well and add presoaked basmati rice to it. Once you have added the rice it will stop boiling. Wait till it again starts boiling. This rice is 50% done. Make an layer of rice on top of the marinated mutton. Add about a cup of water ( Preferably the water in which you boiled the rice).

Sprinkle some more fried brown onions on top of it. Drizzle few spoons of saffron soaked milk over it.

Now seal the vessel tightly with aluminum foil.

We will not be cooking this directly on heat because if we do so the meat will char by the time the biriyani is cooked. So take a tawa (skillet) and place the biryani vessel on top of it. Cook it on medium heat for about 45 minutes. By the end of this time you will see the aluminum foil has swollen up. That means it is ready. Remove the foil an serve it with raita.

IMG_7649

Raita

IMG_7643

Raita is basically a cool, creamy yogurt based condiment which is a perfect accompaniment for different kinds of spicy dishes. No wonder Hyderabadis famous for their spicy food, eat equal amount of raita with any of their servings.

Made by combining different ingredients with yogurt, raita is a must to soothe the palate and douse the fire .

Ingredients

  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber coarsely shredded
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrot
  • 2tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
  • 1tsp.  dry roasted ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2tsp. chat masala
  • 1/2tsp. chili flakes
  • 1tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

In a bowl take yogurt and add salt and sugar to it. Beat it with a fork so that there is no lump in it. Now combine all other ingredients with the beaten yogurt and your raita is ready to serve.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...