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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rabdi Sondesh

IMG_9347Recently I have joined bunch of food groups on facebook. In one of those groups Laxmipriya (I do not have her link to share) posted the recipe for Malai Sondesh. She used cream to soak the sondesh. I do not like the after taste of cream and hence made the same with thickened milk. So this is a slight variation and hence I called it Rabdi Sondesh. The fun thing is that you can make a bit more of sondesh so that you can treat yourself while finishing the rest of the dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Chena (Homemade cottage cheese)
  • 6 cups full cream milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2-3 pods of green cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ghee for greasing
  • Few pistachio and cashew for garnishing 
  • Few strands of saffron

Procedure

For making homemade cottage cheese or chena take 5 cups of milk in a heavy bottom pan. Bring it to a boil on high heat. When the milk starts boiling reduce the heat and add vinegar or lime juice to it. As soon as the milk curdles turn off the heat and stir it well.

Line a strainer with cheese cloth and pour the curdled milk over it. Wash chena with running cold water to wash off any residual acidity. Bring the sides of the cheese cloth together and squeeze it to drain the excess water. Don’t drain it too hard.

Take chena in a flat tray and knead it with the heel of your palm. Add 2 tbsp. of sugar and crushed cardamom seeds. The chena mixture should be moist. If you feel  its not moist enough add few drops of milk to it.

Grease a steel Tiffin box with ghee and spread the chena evenly. Pour half cup water in the cooker and carefully place the closed tiffin box inside it. The water level should cover 1/3 of the height of the tiffin box. Cook it on medium heat without the pressure-weight for 15 minutes.

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Allow the tiffin box to cool down completely. Remove the cover and place a plate upside down on top of the open tiffin box. Turn it over. Now your sondesh is ready. Cut it into squares.

In a heavy bottom pan take milk and cook it on medium heat till the color changes to one shade darker of its original one. Don’t forget to stir it continuously. By this time it will be reduced to its half. add 1/4 cup of sugar and freshly crushed cardamom seeds. Stir well.

Add steamed chena cubes and turn off the heat. Let it stand for couple of hours before you serve. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mangser Ghugni

IMG_1836I seldom used to eat street food in my childhood. My dad was always worried that I’d catch one of the tropical stomach bugs and fall ill. So when I finally moved into college, I used my new found independence and access to try out the famous Kolkata street  foods. One of them was mangser ghugni at the corner of College Square, Kolkata. The specialty about this place was that they use small pieces of meat instead of heavily ground minced meat. However, the kind of meat they used remains doubtful :)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried yellow peas washed and soaked in water for 4-5 hours
  • 1 large potato cut into small dices
  • 250 gms. bone on mutton
  • 1 cup + 2tbsp.finely chopped onion
  • 1 large red tomato finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil
  • 1 tsp. bhaja masala (Dry roast and coarsely grind 1tsp. whole cumin seeds, 1tsp. whole coriander seeds and 2 dry red chilies)

Procedure

In a pressure cooker take the mutton pieces and cook them with little salt and water on medium heat. It will take about 10 minutes. Let the pressure release on its own. open the lid and remove the mutton pieces with a slotted spoon. Reserve the mutton stock for later use.

When the meat pieces are cold enough to handle cut them into bite sized pieces and discard the bones.

Cook the pre soaked peas with salt, 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder and bay leaves on medium heat in a pressure cooker. Wait for 2 whistles, then turn off the heat. Wait for the pressure to settle down on its own, and then open the lid. The peas should be cooked but not mushy.

Heat oil in a pan and fry the potato cubes till they turn golden yellow. Remove and drain them on an absorbent paper.

In the same oil add 1 cup of chopped onions and fry on medium heat till they turn light brown. Add chopped tomato and cook till they are mushy. Add all wet spices and dry spice powders. Sauté on low heat till oil oozes out of the side.

Add mutton pieces to it and fry along with spices. Keep frying for few more minutes. Now add fried potato dices and boiled peas to it.

Season with salt and sugar along with the mutton stock. Stir it well and let it simmer for five more minutes. This dish would be of medium consistency. Turn off the heat and keep it covered.

Garnish with chopped onion, cilantro, green chilies and bhaja masla.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Diiiiiim

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My husband had this egg based dish at an restaurant in Bangalore many years back. Apparently it had boiled eggs, dipped in egg batter, fried and then cooked. It then had grated eggs sprinkled on it. So he named it egggggggggg or dimmmmmm (Bengali for Egg).

Based  on his description (which is flaky at best) I made this. We liked the final product and I think it will make a great starter, especially if you have vegetarian friends who also eat eggs (common variety these days).

Ingredients

  • 4 hard boiled eggs shelled
  • 1 raw egg
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 green chilies slit lengthwise
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tsp. shredded garlic
  • 1 tbp. kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tbsp. maida ( all purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp. corn starch or rice flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

Procedure

Cut 3 boiled eggs lengthwise in quarters.

In a bowl take maida or corn starch or rice flour, 1 tsp. chopped cilantro, and a pinch of salt. Mix all these dry ingredients together. Now break the raw egg and add to it. Beat well to make a thick batter.

Take oil in a wok and heat it up. Pour 1 tbsp. hot oil in the egg batter and give a nice stir. Now dip each egg quarter into the egg batter and gently slide it in the hot oil. Fry on medium heat for a minute and then remove them on a paper towel.

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Take  4-5 tbsp. oil in a pan and sprinkle 1 tsp. garam masala powder to it. Add sliced onions along with sugar and a pinch of salt. This sugar will give the dish a vibrant red color. Fry onion on low heat till they turn soft. now add chopped tomato, ginger and garlic to it. Sprinkle Turmeric and chili powder and mix well. Keep frying the masala on low heat till oil separates out and the spices become mushy. Now add fried eggs along with green chilies and cilantro. Sprinkle salt. Mix well in a gently so that all eggs are well coated with spices. Remove from heat and transfer the content in a serving bowl.

Take the other hard boiled egg and grate it. Garnish your dish with shredded egg and serve.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Notun Gurer Kancha golla

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When fresh jaggery hits the market the shelves of sweet stores in Kolkata gets filled with stacks of Kancha golla and nolen gurer sondesh. Kacha Golla is really simple and brings out the true flavor and aroma of the fresh chena and jaggery. The key being that the sondesh is kancha or uncooked.

Ingredients

  • 1 liter whole milk
  • 3-4 tbsp. lime juice
  • 7-8 tbsp. date palm jaggery
  • Raisins and pistachio to garnish

Procedure

IMG_5834In a heavy bottom pan boil milk over medium heat. When it comes to a rolling boil gradually add lime juice and stir. The milk will start to curdle. When you see a clear liquid is separated from the milk solids strain it on a strainer lined with cheese cloth.

Wash the milk solids under cold running water to get rid of any acidic smell. Bring the corners of the cheese cloth together and squeeze out the excess water.Hang it from your kitchen faucet for about 15-20 minutes.

Transfer the chena on a flat surface and knead it with the heal of your palm till it is smooth and doesn’t have any more lumps.

In a non stick pan add jaggery with 2-3tbsp. water. Allow it to melt on very low heat. Once it melts completely turn off the heat. Keep stirring till the jaggery comes down to room temperature.Add the jaggery syrup to the chana and mix well.

Now make round balls out of them and garnish with raisins and pistachios. These sondesh is ultra soft so I prefer to serve them in paper cups.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kheer Kadam

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As a kid I used to love the carefully arranged stacks of Kheer Kadamba at our local sweet shop. However, I could just see those and never eat ‘em. My dad was of the strong opinion that they are made from stale leftover sweets and very unhygienic. So I never really had them until much later.

Kheer Kadamba is a two layered sweet and almost looks like the earths picture from childhood geography books. The core is not made of magma but of dry rasgulla. The shell is kheer (milk solids). It is then rolled over a bed of shredded kheer.

The name of the sweet comes from the Kadamba flower.

Ingredients

  • 8 dry rasgulla
  • 100 gms. khoya or mawa + 50 gms. for grating
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 2 drops rose essence

Procedure

Make rasgulla following http://www.bongcook.com/2012/11/bengali-rasgulla-or-rosogolla.html. Once the rasgulla is done let it boil in the sugar syrup for 5 more minutes without making the syrup thin (don’t add any more water). Allow them to soak in the thick syrup for half an hour. Remove and drain the rasgullas from the syrup and let them cool down before you start the next step.

Grate khoya and add sugar, milk and rose essence to it. Knead with your hand to make a soft and smooth dough. Divide the dough into eight equal portions and make smooth balls out of them.

Flatten each ball in between your palms and stuff it with one rasgulla. Cover the rasgulla nicely with the khoya mixture and smoothen the surface to give them a round shape just like laddoo.

Grate the other part of khoya and spread it on a plate. Roll each stuffed laddoo into the grated khoya mixture and place them on paper cups. If you see that the grated khoya is not sticking to the stuffed laddoos brush the laddoos with a layer of sugar syrup and then roll them over.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stuffed Chicken Breast

IMG_9937 My aunt saw this on some TV show and made it at home. She really liked it and insisted I try it out and blog about it. Keeping the taste aside it looks vibrant and colorful. Since it is baked while wrapped it remains very succulent. Being stuffed with colorful veggies and cooked with very little oil and cheese this is an excellent healthy low carb dinner option.

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breast boneless
  • 3 tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp.  ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushroom
  • 1/2 cum sweet corn
  • 1/4 red bell pepper chopped
  • 5-6 basil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Aluminum foil or plantain leaf (to wrap)

Procedure

Take chicken breasts and pat them dry. Now on the thicker side make a slit with a sharp knife. Using your finger create a pocket inside the breast. You need to be little careful so that your finger doesn’t go through the other side.

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Marinate the chicken breast with yogurt, ginger garlic paste, lime juice and salt. Keep for half an hour.

Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pan and add chopped onion, ginger and garlic to it. Sauté on medium heat till onions turn pink. Now stir in chopped mushroom, corn, bell pepper and spinach. Fry them on high heat for a minute or two. Lower the heat and add basil leaves, black pepper, salt and mix well. Finally sprinkle cheese and stir to combine. Turn off the heat. Allow it to cool down completely.

Now pack this stuffing inside the pocket of the chicken breast. Slather butter on both sides of the breasts. Wrap it in a aluminum foil. I had banana leaves so I used those.

Pre heat your oven at 350F and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the wrapper and place it on a cutting board.. Slice each breast into 4-5 pieces on an angle with a sharp knife,

Arrange them on a serving plate and serve with your favorite dip.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chicken Bharta

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There is a famous restaurant in Kolkata called Honey-Da-Dhaba. They make this famous Chicken Bharta. I had heard a lot about it but never really got a chance to have it. The good folks at the dhaaba revealed their secret in a cookery show (available here). I followed their steps and loved the outcome, I am not really sure how authentic it is but it was tasty nonetheless. If you have had the good fortune of having the real stuff, do try out this recipe and let me know who well this matches up.

Ingredients

  • 1lb. boneless chicken
  • 1 big onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato finely chopped
  • 1tsp. ginger paste
  • 1tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. kasuri methi  (dry fenugreek  powder )
  • 2 tbsp. cashew paste
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. cream
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 tbsp. oil
  • 1 hard boiled egg optional
  • Whole garam masala (6 cloves, 6 cardamoms, 2 bay leaves)

Procedure:

Heat oil in a wok and temper it with whole garam masala. Let them sizzle. Add chopped onion to it and fry till they turn golden brown.Next to go in are ginger garlic paste and chopped tomato. Fry on low heat till oil oozes out of the spices.

In a bowl mix all dry spice powder with water and add to the spices. Fry till the raw smell goes away. Add boneless chicken pieces to it and mix well with the spices.

Add salt, sugar and cashew paste and yogurt to it. Stir it well. Now drizzle fresh cream and butter over it. Give them a nice mix. Sprinkle kasuri methi over it and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add chopped cilantro. Garnish with halved hard boiled eggs and serve.

I served it with palak naan. It goes well with any kind of Indian flat bread.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

RaniDi-r Rosun Aloor Dum

IMG_0866In our school, it was a very common to see that a bunch of folks remained hungry with a box full of alur dum or ghugni at the end of the lunch hour. No, they didn’t pack those for their lunch. It was bought from Rani-Di. Rani-Di was distinctly different from her fellow colleagues. The crisp cotton sari, the curly long hair, the big red dot just in the middle of her forehead and a smile which was really a rare sight in our school made her stand out in the crowd, she was our Rani-Di.

Each day she used bring aloor dum, aloo kabli, ghugni and tetul or kuler acchar. Sometimes we had to wait in queue for the whole 30 minutes of our lunch time and didn’t even get time to eat it.

I used to urge my mom to make the same Aloo-r Dum. Based on my descriptions she tried multiple times but it never tasted the same. One day I asked Rani-Di and she told me to ask my mom to use garlic instead of ginger. Hence came the name.

Ingredients

  • 250 gms. baby potatoes
  • 6-7 fat cloves of garlic
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp. thick tamarind pulp
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil
  • 2-3 green chilies finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. black salt
  • 1 tbsp. bhaaja masala ( Dry roast and coarsely grind 1 tsp. cumin, 1tsp. coriander and 2 dry red chilies)

Procedure

Peel baby potatoes and boil them in salt water for 2-3 minutes. Drain water and smear potatoes with a pinch of turmeric.

Heat oil in a pan and deep fry potatoes till they turn golden yellow. Drain on a paper towel and keep aside.

IMG_0860Peel the skin of tomato and make a paste of it with garlic cloves.

Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a pan and add tomato garlic paste to it. Sauté on low heat till the raw smell goes off. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili powder to it. Fry on low heat till you see oil seeps from the edge.

Add fried potato along with tamarind pulp and fry them along with the spices. Season with salt and sugar. Add 1/4 cup of water to it. Mix well and let it simmer on low heat till potatoes are done. Keep an eye so that you don’t over cook them.

If required turn the heat on high and let the excess moisture dry out. This is a dry dish and at the end the potatoes will be just coated with the spice mixture.

Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro and green chilies. Sprinkle generous amount of bhaaja masala, little black salt and add a dash of tamarind juice just before serving.

Potol Pur (Stuffed Parwal)

IMG_0847Potol was never my favorite. I never really understand why anyone would want to eat it, obviously other then the time when you stuff it with shrimps. Which brings us to Potol Pur. This is basically just the shell of potol stuffed with shrimp and other equally tasty stuff. I just love this and can just finish my entire meal with this.

My Dida (grandma) used to make this and later my mom picked it up. My mom did not throw away the potol seeds and mixed it with the shrimps. I think it was an elaborate scheme to make me have potol :)

Ingredients

For Stuffing

  • 5 potol (Parwal or Pointed Gourd)
  • 1/2 cup tiny shrimp (If you are using larger shrimps cut into bit sized pieces)
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated coconut paste
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. mustard paste 
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder  
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp. mustard oil

For Batter

  • 1/2 cup besan (Chick pea flour)
  • 2 tbsp. rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

Procedure

Scrape the skin of the parwals and wash them. Pat them dry. Now cut the parwals lengthwise into halves.

IMG_0835With a spoon scoop out the flesh from them. Don’t discard them, keep them reserved.IMG_0837In a bowl take shrimps and mix them with chopped onion, coconut, mustard paste, chopped green chilies, turmeric and chili powder, salt, sugar and mustard oil.

Now stuff each parwal halves with the filling.

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In a mixing bowl mix besan, rice flour, salt, turmeric powder and chili powder. Add water little at a time to make a thick and smooth batter.

IMG_0841Heat oil in a deep wok and take out 1 tbsp. of hot oil from it to add in the batter you made.

Carefully dip each stuffed parwal in the batter and slide into the hot oil. Fry it on medium heat till the coating turns golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain it on a paper towel.

Serve with steaming hot rice with a spoonful of ghee.

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