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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mocha-Chingri r Kofta

IMG_9946 [IMG_8342%255B5%255D.jpg]My husband bought a huge mocha (banana flower) from the local Indian store. It was way too large for our small family. After making mochar ghonto, I still had a lot left. So I chopped them up and along with shrimps made some kofta and gravy.

Mocha is very fibrous and because of that the kofta’s had a very unique texture. Give this a try, I hope you’d really enjoy this.

Ingredients For Kofta

  • 2 cups mocha chopped
  • 20 medium sized prawns cleaned and deveined
  • 1/2 cup motor dal soaked for 3hours (Yellow split pea)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1” ginger chopped
  • 2 green chilies finely minced
  • 1 tsp. roasted cumin seeds ground into a powder 
  • 1 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  • Oil for deep frying 
  • Salt

Ingredients For Curry

  • 5 small potatoes cut into halves
  • 1/2 medium sized onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 2 green chilies chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil
  • Whole garam masala
    • 1”cinnamon
    • 2 cloves
    • 2 green cardamoms
    • 2 bay leaves

Procedure

Drain soaked dal and make a paste of it in a grinder with minimum water. Remove and keep aside.

Boil mocha with turmeric and in a pressure cooker for a whistle or two on high heat.  Let the pressure drop on its own. Now drain the excess water from boiled mocha.

Take 10 cleaned prawn in a grinder and give a quick pulse to crush them.

In a mixing bowl take dal paste, boiled mocha, crushed prawns and one by one add chopped onion, ginger, green chilies to it. Season it with roasted cumin powder, garam masala powder and salt. Mix well and make lime sized balls out of it.

Heat oil for deep frying in a pan. Deep fry the balls on medium heat till they turn crispy and brown. remove and drain them on a paper towel.

IMG_9940Fry potato halves on medium heat till they turn yellow. Remove and keep aside.

Smear the rest of the prawns with turmeric and salt. Fry them till they turn pink. Remove and keep them handy.

Remove excess oil from the pan and temper it with bay leaves and whole garam masala. When they stop sputtering add onion and garlic paste to it. Keep frying till you see oil seeps out from the edge.

Add chopped tomato along with salt and sugar. Keep frying on low hit till tomatoes become mushy. Sprinkle turmeric and chili powder to it.

Throw in fried potatoes and mix well so they are well coated with spices. Pour a cup of water and cook covered till potatoes are almost done. Now add fried prawns and koftas to it. Let it simmer for 2 more minutes.

Sprinkle garam masala powder before you take it off from heat.

Serve with rice, pulao, chapathi or parantha.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Paneer Kadai (Cottage Cheese in Tomato Gravy)

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After I have started food blogging, I have also got myself into collecting dishware. Obviously to post about Paneer and Chicken Kadai I needed some nice Kadai. So I made my friends visiting India and also those already in India to run around to get some fine copper bottomed Kadais. The Kadai in the picture here came from Jaipur, Rajasthan. I “employed” true Rajasthani couples Nisheet and Kavya to get it, they were  reimbursed with the panner in this kadai.

I have also got a bunch of other copperware from Hyderabad, they will be revealed in due time.

Ingredients

  • 200 gms. paneer (Cottage cheese) cut into cubes
  • 1 medium sized onion cut into cubes
  • 1/2 green bell pepper (Capsicum) cut into cubes
  • 5 medium tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tomato cut into big cubes
  • 1” ginger cut into julienne
  • 1 tsp. Kashmiri red chili powder (Paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp. kasuri methi (Dried Fenugreek leaves)
  • 4 Kashmiri red chili
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. peppercorn
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

Procedure

Dunk the paneer cubes in salty warm water, it will make the panner soft.

In a pan dry roast whole red chilies, 1 tsp. cumin seeds, 2 tbsp. coriander seeds, fennel and peppercorn. Grind them into a coarse powder.

Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a pan and temper it with 1 red chili and whole cumin seed. Sauté till they start to crackle. Add coriander seeds to it. Fry on medium heat for a minute.

Next put in the chopped tomatoes. Fry till they turn pulpy and start releasing their juices. Now add red chili powder, sugar and salt. Sauté till oil gets separated from the spice mixture. Add ginger, tomato cubes, onion cubes and capsicum. Fry on high heat for a minute.

Drain the paneer cubes and add in. Sprinkle 1tbsp. of ground dry spice powder and kasuri methi. Mix gently. Turn off the heat and keep it covered so that paneer cubes can absorb the flavors.

Sprinkle one more spoon of ground spice powder just before you serve.

Enjoy with some naan or kulcha..

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Narkel Posto Potol (Parval in Poppy Seed and Coconut paste)

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Potol posto, potol-dorma and potol-dalna are the three common dishes made out of potol in a Bong household. This post covers the first with a twist of coconut.

This dish gets its special aroma from the spices that are fried first and then ground.

Ingredients

  • 15 parwal (Potol or Pointed gourd)
  • 1/2 tsp. methi seeds ( Fenugreek )
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. mouri (fennel seeds)
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 cardamoms 
  • 1 red dry red chili
  • 1/2” ginger chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seed
  • 1 tsp. Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil

Procedure

Heat 1 tsp. oil in a pan and roast methi, cumin, fennel, cloves, cardamoms, red chili along with chopped ginger, grated coconut and poppy seeds. Fry all these ingredients on low heat till you find a sweet aroma. Cool and transfer the content in a blender. Dry grind this mixture and then add water to make a fine paste out of it.

Wash potol and scrape their skin, don’t peel it. Lengthwise cut them into halves and smear them with a pinch of turmeric and salt.

Heat oil in a pan and fry potol on medium heat till they turn yellow. Remove and keep aside.

If there is any oil left use that or else add some more oil. Temper the oil with green chilies and add coconut poppy seed masala paste to it.

Sprinkle turmeric and Kashmiri chili powder and fry the masala on low heat till oil oozes out from the sides.

Now add fried potol and seasonings. Mix well with masala so that each of them are nicely coated. Add half a cup of water. Cover and cook till potol is done. This is a dry dish so boil off any excess moisture left at the end of the cooking.

Serve with hot plain rice.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Chittagong Chicken

IMG_0452The people of Chittagong (in Bangladesh) uses a lot of chillies or atleast that’s what my grand-mom used to tell me. So don’t get shocked with the heavy use of them in this recipe. The cashews and the onions do mild them out a bit.

Chittagong chicken is generally made dry but since I was serving it with rice I made it with a bit more gravy. You can optionally cook it a bit more and dry it out.

Ingredients

  • 750 gms. chicken on bone 
  • 10-12 dry red chilies
  • 4 tbsp. + 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. dry red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste 
  • 1 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  • 3 medium onions cut into thin slices 
  • 2 tbsp. cashew nuts paste (10 whole cashews) 
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard Oil for cooking

Procedure

In a wok dry roast 4 tbsp. coriander seeds along with whole dry red chilies till you get a warm smell of the spices. Transfer the content in a dry grinder jar and make a powder of these.

Wash and pat dry chicken. Marinate with half of the ground powder, garlic paste, chili powder and 2 tbsp. of mustard oil. Let it sit for 2-3 hours.

IMG_0440Heat 2tbsp. oil in a wok and temper it with whole coriander seeds. Let them sizzle before you add onion slices. Fry on medium heat till they turn soft and translucent.

Add marinated chicken and fry them on medium heat for few minutes. Sprinkle salt, and mix well. Cook it covered till the meat is done.

Add cashew paste and cook for another one minute and then turn off the heat. Sprinkle the rest of the roasted ground spice powder and give a nice mix. Keep it covered till you serve.

Enjoy with a plateful of white rice.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Instant Oats Idli

IMG_9874My daughter having grown up in South India loves to eat Idli. Unfortunately I do not make it regularly enough to keep a supply of idli-rice, grinding equipment and such. The easy alternative I have found is to make rawa idli or use oats. I have already covered making rawa idli on my blog and this post is about the later.

Oats idli is an excellent choice for people on a diet as its much lower in calories than rice.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup sooji (Semolina)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. chaana dal (Bengal gram)
  • 1 tsp. urad dal (Black gram)
  • 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch hing (asafetida)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 3 cups of plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp. oil

Procedure

Dry roast oats in a pan on medium heat stirring continuously until it turns light brown. Keep aside and let it cool down. 

In the same pan dry roast rawa for a minute on low flame.

When the oats is cooler, grind in a spice grinder to make a coarse powder of it. 

In a mixing bowl take ground oats, roasted rawa, salt and baking soda. Mix really well.

Heat oil, add mustard and cumin seeds to it, when the seeds begin to splutter add chana and urad dal to it and sauté for a few seconds.

When the dals turn brownish, add hing to it and immediately turn off the heat.

Pour this (oil + dal and spice) mixture on the dry mixture of oats and semolina. Mix very well.

You can prepare this dry mixture ahead of time ( Can be refrigerated for 5 days) and prepare the idli later.

Grease idli molds.

Just before steaming add 3 cups of yogurt and chopped cilantro to it and mix. Put spoonful of this mixture into each mold and steam for 5-7 minutes.

When its cool remove each idle carefully and serve with coconut chutney of your choice.

Notes: Remember only add yogurt when you are ready to steam, else the effectiveness of baking soda will decrease and the idlis will not rise up.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dal Makhani

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Initially I tried and failed to make that perfect silky Dal Makhani at home. Each time I visited a good Indian restaurant and had one, I’d go back thinking what is it that I was missing. Then I figured the secret out with the help from a friend who worked in the hotel industry. The secret is super slow cooking. You need to slow cook the dal for hours. I generally do it now for 6 to 7 hours in the lowest heat and get fantastic melt in your mouth silky Dal Makhani.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup black urad dal (black gram) washed
  • 1 fistful rajma (red kidney bean) washed
  • 2 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 2 large tomatoes pureed
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. kasuri methi (Dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh cream
  • Salt
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • For Tempering
    • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
    • 1” cinnamon stick
    • 2 cardamoms
    • 2 cloves
    • 1 bay leaf

Procedure

Soak rajma for 3-4 hours but not the urad dal. In a deep vessel take both dals with a pinch of salt and pour enough water to boil them. Cook them covered on the lowest heat mark for 6-7 hours. Alternatively you can pressure cook.

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, bay leaf and whole garam masala. When they stop spluttering add ginger garlic paste and sauté for few minutes.

Next to go in is pureed tomato and cook it on low heat for 5-6 minutes to cook of its raw smell. Add red chili powder and coriander powder and salt. Fry the masala till oil oozes out.

Add 2 tsp. butter. Pour boiled dal to it along with cream. Sprinkle dry kasuri methi powder and stir well. Cook for another 30 minutes covered, while mixing it in between so that it doesn’t stick to bottom.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve,.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Aamshotto Sondesh

IMG_0771-EditWhen I made aamshotto one of the trays was over soon. I kept the other tray aside to make some Sondesh out of it. In Kolkata the typical way of making it is by placing layers of aamshotto in between sondesh. I decided to give it a twist, literally.

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet of aamshotto or mango leather of 12”x5”
  • 2 liter whole milk
  • 1/4 cup vinegar diluted in water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 green cardamom’s seed

Procedure

I have already outlined the procedure of making mango leather or aamshotto in my post here. Either use that to make one or buy ready made slabs.

Heat milk in a heavy bottom pan. When it roll to a boil reduce heat and slowly add diluted vinegar or lime juice to it. You will see that the milk solid starts curdling. When the milk solids are separated from the transparent whey, drain it on a colander lined with a cheese cloth.

Bring the corners of the cheese cloth together and squeeze out water out of it. Tie the cheese cloth from your kitchen faucet from 10 minutes.

On a flat surface knead cheena with the heel of your hand till its smooth and lump free.

Now transfer the chenna in a non stick pan. Add sugar, condensed milk,fresh cream,and cardamom seeds to it. Mix well. Keep stirring on low heat till the mixture comes together and leaves the pan. Remove it from the pan and let it cool a bit so that its tolerable when you touch with hand. This mixture (Sondesh) will be kind of sticky.

Lay the sheet of aamshotto on a flat surface and then place the sondesh mixture on it. Spread it uniformly over aamshotto with a spatulla. Press it with your palm to set properly.IMG_0766Now start rolling the aamshotto from one end till you reach the other side. Secure it on a chopping board and slice with a wet serrated knife.IMG_0767 IMG_0768 Done with your aamshotto sondesh.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rajbhog

IMG_0517Raj bhog is a two layered Bengali sweet with a khoya core and a rosogolla (rasgulla) type shell. The name literally means that it’s for the kings palate and is a desert worthy of the kings. If you put in the right effort you will be rewarded handsomely. If you can find an actual king to feed this to, you might even get a bag of gold coins. At least that’s the story I told my daughter. Here goes another recipe of Rajbhog from Chitrangada’s blog.

Ingredients

For The Outer Shell Of Rajbhog

  • 2 liter full fat milk
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar or juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tbsp. sooji (Semolina )
  • 1 tbsp. all purpose flour (Maida)
  • 1/2 tsp. saffron strands soaked in 1 tbsp. milk

For The Stuffing

  • 4tbsp. grated khoya (unsweetened milk powder can also be used)
  • 6-8 pistachio pods blanched
  • 5-6 raw cashew
  • 1/4 tsp. green cardamom powder

For Sugar Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4+1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. saffron strand
  • 3-4 green cardamoms bruised

Procedure

Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan.Stir continuously to avoid any scalding at the bottom. As the milk comes to a rolling boil reduce the heat and slowly add vinegar or lime juice to it. Keep stirring till the milk curdles and you can see the transparent whey. Line a colander with cheese cloth and strain the curdled milk. Gently hold the colander under cold running water to wash off any residual acid.

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Bring all the corners of the cheesecloth together and tie up the cheese cloth containing the solid curdled milk. Squeeze it with your hand to drain the excess whey out of it.

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Transfer the cottage cheese to a flat tray and add semolina, flour and saffron milk to it and mix very well.

Knead the mixture with heel of your palm for 4-5 minutes to make a smooth lump free dough.

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Divide the dough into 12 - 14 equal parts and roll them in between your wet hands to form balls. Cover these cheese balls with a wet kitchen towel to avoid any loss of moisture.

Dry grind cashew and pistachio into a fine powder and then mix them to the rest of the ingredients listed under Stuffing. 

Mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough. 

Divide the stuffing into 12-14 equal parts and roll them in between your palms to make small balls.

IMG_0508

Stuff each cheese balls with a stuffing at its center and make outer shell of cheese   smooth so that they don’t break during cooking. Cover them with a wet kitchen towel.IMG_0510

Make sure you are using a large enough container for sugar syrup to accommodate all the cheese balls as the cheese balls when cooked will swell up to 1.5 times of their original size.

In a deep sauce pan boil sugar with 4 cups of water. Keep one extra cup of water warm to make the boiling syrup thinner while cooking. Add green cardamom pods, saffron to the syrup and let the syrup boil. when the syrup comes to a rolling boil drop the cheese balls carefully. Reduce heat to medium and cook them covered.

Keep an eye so the syrup doesn’t start to thicken. Add ladle full of warm water(the extra one cup) in between to keep the consistency of the syrup right. It will take almost 30-40 minutes (Depending on the size of the cheese balls) for the cheese balls to get cooked.


After 30-40 minutes switch off heat and let the rajbhog cool down in the syrup for at least 5-6 hrs. Serve them cold or as I like warm them up in microwave for 20 seconds before you serve.

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I don’t carry any nostalgia of Rajbhog since I don’t like sweets other than very few like Rasgulla and Mishti Doi. The lovely pictures of Rajbhog in Chitrangada’s blog literraly pushed me into making this. Here goes her recipe link.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kashmiri Rogan Josh ( Authentic )

IMG_9686The Rogan Josh is commonly served in restaurants of Kolkata is very different from the actual Kashmiri Rogan josh. I have previously published it’s recipe here.

I was once invited to a Kashmiri home and the Rogan Josh my friends wife made was different in that it did not use onions, tomatoes or garlic. Instead it was flavored with dry ginger, fennel powder and asafetida (hing). I am not sure which one I liked more, I leave it to you to make both the versions and decide for yourself.

Ingredients

  • 1kg lamb
  • 6-8 cloves
  • 3-4 black cardamom
  • 4-5 green cardamom
  • 1” cinnamon stick
  • 10-12 black peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp. hing (Asafetida)
  • 2 tbsp. fennel powder
  • 1 tbsp. dry ginger powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. black pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp. Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Dry roast and coarsely grind
    • 3-4 green cardamom
    • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds

Procedure

Heat oil and temper it with lightly crushed cloves, cinnamon, black and green cardamom and asafetida. Let them sizzle for a minute.

Add meat pieces to it and sear them on high heat till all sides turn brown and no moisture is left.

Add salt and Kashmiri red chili powder. Sauté on medium heat till oil turns red. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool down a bit before you add yogurt.

Add yogurt and fry for few more minutes on low heat till oil gets separated. Add dry ginger powder and fennel powder along with little turmeric powder. This turmeric powder will help to retain the red color of the dish.

Mix everything together so that meat pieces are well coated with spices. Add salt and give it a nice mix. Add half a cup of water and pressure cook it on high heat till one whistle comes. Turn off the heat and wait till the pressure drops.

Open the lid and mix once more. Now do the rest of the cooking covered on low heat for another 15-20 minutes or till the meat becomes tender.

Sprinkle roasted and ground spice powder on top of it and serve. This goes well with saffron rice.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Aamshotto or Mango-Lime Roll-ups

IMG_0401My daughter had gone for a 4 day camping trip and we took the opportunity and headed out as well. Finally when we came back and opened the door we were welcome by the smell of very ripe mangoes. I had complete forgotten about a box of mangoes I had bought and placed on the fruit bowl before leaving. They were in good condition but we had to finish them off that day. I decided that instead of feasting on mangoes alone, I’d make some mango roll-ups.

Unfortunately Seattle is not particularly known for it’s sunlight. Rather many tout it as the most depressing city in US, due to its lack of sunlight and constant drizzle (a view I totally oppose). So I worked around this problem by using the oven.

Ingredients

  • 6 mangoes (Canned mango pulp can also be used) 
  • 4 heaped tbsp. sugar
  • 1 large lime

Procedure

Wash and pat dry mangoes. Cut the flesh and make a pulp out of them in your food processor. Now strain it on a strainer and remove the fibers to get the smooth pulp. If you are using canned mango pulps you can skip this step.

Though the mangoes I used were over ripe they were not sweet enough. To give a sweet and sour taste I added 4 heaped tbsp. sugar and juice of one large lime. The quantities of these two will therefore vary depending on the sweet and sourness of the mangoes you use. Stir in well and blend them in properly.

Line two cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the mango pulp evenly with a spatula. Don’t make it too thin or too thick otherwise either it will become very crispy like papad or it will not dry properly in the oven.

Turn your oven on the lowest setting (mine goes to 170) and place the cookie sheets in the oven.  I kept the door open to keep the oven cooler than 170 and for a better air circulation, we are drying these out not baking them.  Depending on how thick you have spread the puree it may take anywhere from 4-7 hours to dehydrate in your oven.

When you touch the upper layer of the spread if it feels rubbery and if the layer comes off from the parchment paper easily that means it is done. Turn off the oven and let it rest in the warm oven overnight. don’t forget to keep the oven door half opened for better air circulation.

Now remove the mango layers from the parchment paper and cut them into equal portions of your choice. Roll and tie them with ribbon.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kashmiri Stuffed Dum Aloo

IMG_9901When we were in school most wedding banquets started serving what they called Kashmiri Stuffed Dum Aloo. They varied considerably in taste and I am sure that the Kashmiris have never heard about this dish being passed in their name. Nevertheless it tasted pretty good. Suddenly my husband started having a craving for this and I got multiple requests to make it. I do not really remember how it exactly tasted so many years ago, so I created a recipe that I believe should pass as a “authentic” Kashmiri Dum Aloo :)

Ingredients for Stuffing

  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 2 cups keema (Minced meat)
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • Salt to taste

Procedure For Stuffing

Peel the potatoes and cut them into halves. Now scoop out the flesh from each halves with the back of the spoon. Reserve the potato fleshes for later use.The potatoes will now look like cups. Dunk these potato cups in salted water for 30 minutes.

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After 30 minutes drain the water and smear the potato cups with turmeric and salt. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the potato cups on medium heat till they turn golden yellow (about 3-4 minutes). Remove and drain them on a paper towel. Let them cool completely.

Heat 2 tsp. oil and fry chopped onion and garlic till they turn soft Now add minced meat followed by dry spice powders (Turmeric + Chili). Sauté for few minutes and then add scooped out potato fleshes to it. Season with salt and sugar. Mix well and cook it covered till meat is done and there is no excess moisture left. Let it cool.

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Stuff each potato cups with keema mixture and keep them ready till you make the gravy.

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Ingredients For Gravy

  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. dry ginger powder
  • 2 tsp. fennel powder
  • 1 tsp. powder of 2 green cardamoms + 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 4-5 tbsp. oil
  • For Tempering
    • 1 tsp. asafetida (Hing)
    • 2 black cardamom
    • 2 green cardamom
    • 3 cloves
    • 1” cinnamon stick
    • 5-6 black peppercorn

Procedure For Gravy

Heat oil in a pan and temper it with all the ingredients listed under tempering. Don’t forget to bruise them a little before you add them to oil. Sauté for a while and then add chopped onion to it. Fry till they turn translucent.

Add red chili powder and fry for a minute till the oil turns red. Now throw the tomatoes in and fry till they turn mushy. Add turmeric powder, fennel and dry ginger powder. Mix everything well on very low temperature.

Add yogurt and give the spices a nice mix. Pour about half a cup of water and season with salt and sugar. Stir well and then bring it to a boil.

Add stuffed potatoes to it keeping the open side up. Cook it covered on low heat for another minute and then turn the heat off. Sprinkle cumin and cardamom powder on top of it and serve.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nargisi Kofta Curry

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Apparently in India a show called Master Chef has become a big deal. Some of my relatives have suddenly become super interesting in cooking and I frequently get calls from them either suggesting something I should be making or asking about some recipes that they have seen in that show. Nargisi Kofta was featured in Master Chef but my aunt couldn’t keep track of the recipe in the fast paced show and asked me to make it. So after some research (we do not get Indian TV channels) this is what I came up with. Nargisi Kofta looked awesome and tasted great as well.

Ingredients For Kofta

  • 4 hard boiled eggs shelled
  • 1 raw egg
  • 300 gm mutton keema
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2” ginger
  • 2 large onion finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp. besan (Chic-pea flour)
  • Salt to taste
  • Dry roast and grind the following ingredients into a fine powder
    • 1” cinnamon stick
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 3 cloves
    • 1/2 leaf mace
    • 3 green cardamom
    • 1 black cardamom
    • 1 tiny piece of nutmeg
    • 10 white pepper corn
    • 1 tsp. shahi jeera
    • 1 tsp. poppy seeds
    • 10 dry rose petal

Procedure Of Making Nargisi Kofta

Boil mutton keema with 1 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder, salt and bay leaves. Cook till there is no excess moisture left. Allow it to cool.

Fry onion till they turn golden brown. In a grinder take 2tbsp. dry spice powder, fried onion, ginger, garlic along with boiled minced meat and make a coarse paste out of them. If required you may add a spoon of yogurt to make the process easier. Season it with salt and mix well.

Take about an egg sized portion of the meat mixture and wrap it around a whole egg. IMG_9913

Ina bowl beat one egg with a pinch of salt. heat enough oil for deep frying in a wok. Now take each keema coated egg and dip it in the egg batter. Gently slide the egg in the hot oil and fry till the outer shell is crispy and brown. Remove and drain it on paper towel.IMG_9915

Ingredients for gravy

  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 1” ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 large red tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp. cashew paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • 1/2 tsp. roasted and ground spice powder you made for kofta
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. butter for cooking
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

In a pan take butter and heat it on low flame till it melts. Fry onion slices till the edges turn light brown. Now add ginger garlic paste along with cumin and coriander powder. Sauté on low flame till raw smell of the spices goes away.

Add chopped tomatoes and fry on low flame till it turns mushy and you can see oil oozing out of the spices. Add red chili powder and turmeric and fry for few more minutes. Add half a cup of water to it and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes on low flame. Turn off the heat and let it cool down completely.

Once it is cold enough transfer the mixture in a blender and blend it to a puree. Now strain the puree and discard the residue.

Pour the strained spice mixture in a pan and turn the heat on. Add cashew paste, salt and sugar to it and mix thoroughly. Bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and add fresh cream. Stir it well.

Pour the gravy into serving dish. Cut the koftas lengthwise into halves and arrange it over the gravy as shown in the picture. Sprinkle ground spice powder on top of it and serve.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Palak Paneer

IMG_9923 Palak Paneer is my daughter’s absolute favorite. There are many variants of Palak Paneer that I have come across. This particular one I learnt from Kalpi Pishi. She always used cinnamon in tadka which gives an unique flavor.

Ingredients

  • 250 gms. paneer ( Cottage cheese) cut into cubes
  • 1 bunch spinach cleaned and washed
  • 1 medium tomato finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1” ginger grated
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. kasuri methi ( Dry fenugreek powder ) 
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1” cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

Procedure

Heat 2 cups of water till warm and dissolve 1tsp. salt into it. Dunk the paneer cubes into it. This will make the paneer ultra soft.

Clean and wash spinach thoroughly. In a pot bring 1 cup of water to a rolling boil and then add spinach leaves to it. Add 1/4 spoon of turmeric to it. This turmeric will help retain its fresh green color. Allow it to simmer for 2-3 minutes before you drain the excess water. Now dunk the spinach leaves in a pot full of cold water.

Heat oil in a pan and temper it with cinnamon stick. Allow it to sizzle and then add chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Fry on low heat till onion turns translucent. Now add chopped tomato, chili, coriander and cumin powder. Fry on low heat till the raw smell goes away and oil separates out. Allow this mixture to cool down completely.

In a blender take blanched spinach along with the spice mixture. Puree them into a smooth paste.

Transfer the pureed paste into a pan and bring it to a boil. Add kasuri methi, salt and sugar. Cook it covered for 2-3 minutes.

Drain the paneer cubes and add them to the gravy. Sprinkle garam masala powder and add fresh cream to it. Mix once more before you turn off the heat.

Serve with kulcha or naan.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Upma

IMG_9463Having grown up in Sothern India, this is my daughters staple school lunch. She takes it at least once a week. This is common weekend breakfast for us as well. Even though this is super common in South India, folks in Kolkata are just picking this up. I got a call from one of my relatives asking about upma and hence I am writing this down.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sooji ( Cream of wheat )
  • 2 tbsp. small dices of carrots
  • 2 tbsp. thin slices of beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp. chopped green chilies
  • 1 tsp. hing ( Asafetida )
  • 1 tsp. urad dal
  • 1 tsp. chana dal ( Bengal gram )
  • 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 8 – 10 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. oil

Procedure

Heat oil in a pan and temper it with whole mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal and chaana dal. Fry on low heat till they turn golden brown. Add chopped onion, ginger, green chilies and curry leaves to it. Sauté on low heat till the onion turns pink.

Add 2 cups of water and season it with salt and sugar. Stir well. When the water comes to a boil slowly add suji while whisking it continuously.

You will see the water is al absorbed by the suji in no time. Turn off the heat and keep it covered for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve with thick coconut chutney.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Shahi Murgh Musallam

IMG_9969This is a food fit for the kings. A murgh or chicken is stuffed with fragrant Basmati rice, eggs, spices and cooked in a rich gravy. Generally served in elaborate banquets for the royals.

This originated in Pakistan and found it’s way into Bangladeshi (then East Pakistan) cuisine. I have heard that my grandma used to make this. I did not have the good fortune of having it from her. I learned this recipe from my Aunt (thanks to Vonage :)). Even though the recipe sounded intimidating and complex, it turned out pretty simple to make.

Murgh musallam is best made with small chickens. In the US it is kind of hard to come by and hence I use Cornish Game Hen. I get it from my local Whole Foods store.

NOTE: This needs 12 hour marination

Special Equipment

Wide pan that can accommodate the Whole chicken.

Ingredients For Chicken and Stuffing

  • 1 whole gutted chicken weighing about 600gms. Without feather and skin
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 4 tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup Basmati rice washed and soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  • 1 hard boiled egg shelled
  • 1 pinch saffron strands soaked in warm milk
  • 1 tsp. ghee (clarified butter)

Procedure To stuff the Chicken

Wash the chicken and pat it really 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.

Marinate the chicken with yogurt, lime juice, turmeric powder, chili powder and salt. Make sure that you put the marinade from the inside of the stomach as well. Keep it marinated in refrigerator over night.

Next day take out chicken at least half an hour before you start cooking. Mean while cook the rice till it is 90% done. Remove half cup of rice from the pan and cook rest of the rice till it is fully cooked.

Transfer the 90% cooked rice in a mixing bowl and one by one add salt, ghee, saffron infused milk and garam masala powder to it. Mix it gently with the rice so that the rice grains don’t break. Keep it aside.

Now take the marinated chicken and stuff one egg along with the spice smeared rice inside its belly.

With a needle and thread carefully sew the opening.

Heat about 10-12 tbsp. of oil in a flat pan and fry the whole stuffed chicken on medium heat till all sides turn golden brown. It takes about 10-15 minutes. Remove the chicken on a paper towel.

IMG_9949

With the rest of the rice make saffron rice to serve with Murg Musallam.

Ingredients For Gravy

  • 2 medium onions boiled and made into a fine paste
  • 5 baby potatoes peeled
  • 4 black cardamom 
  • 2 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp. Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 4 tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seed paste
  • 2 tbsp. cashew paste
  • 2 tbsp. rose water
  • 1 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  • 4 tbsp. ghee ( Clarified Butter )
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

Heat ghee in a wide pan till it melts. Add black cardamom and wait till it stops spluttering. Add potatoes and fry till they are golden yellow.

Add boiled onion paste along with ginger garlic paste and fry on low heat till oil starts oozing out from the sides.

Sprinkle red chili powder, turmeric powder and garam masala. Stir in well. Now turn off the heat and let the spice mixture cool down a bit. Pour yogurt and mix well with rest of the spices before you turn on the heat again. Add cashew, poppy seed paste, salt and rose water and give a nice mix.

Now gently add the fried chicken to it and apply the spice mixture all over it with a spoon. Cook it covered on medium heat for 10 minutes before you flip the chicken over. Cook the other side for another 10minutes. By this time both chicken and potatoes will be nicely cooked.

Gently cut the stitches and remove the thread.

Pour the gravy on a serving plate and carefully place the stuffed chicken over it. Line up the potatoes and serve with saffron rice.

IMG_9966

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