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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Moong Dal Barfi

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In Hyderabad one of the few yet excellent late night dinner option was the Midnight Biryani Buffet in Ohri’s Banjara. They used to have this insane buffet in which 4-5 different kinds of biryani and other stuff fit for the Nizam were served. Even though everyone went for the Biryani, my little secret is  that I ate the buffet only when I saw the Moon Dal Barfi in it. I am sure they used more Ghee in the Barfi than the Biryani. Now a continent apart, I make (or atleast attempt making) the Barfi at home.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup yellow moong dal
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw cashew powder
  • 1/2 cup grated khoya
  • 1/2 tsp. green cardamom powder
  • 4 tbsp. ghee ( Clarified butter )
  • 1 tsp. saffron strands
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • Silver leaves for garnishing

Procedure

Soak saffron strands in 1/4 cup of warm milk and keep aside for later use.

In a pan dry roast yellow moong dal till they turn light golden brown. Remove and wash them thoroughly. Now boil the roasted moong dal with half cup water. You can pressure cook it. In that case boil till one whistle comes.

When the pressure is released discard the excess water and let the dal cool down. In a food processor make a coarse paste of boiled dal.

Take a non stick pan and add ghee to it. As soon as it starts melting, add dal paste to it. One by one add sugar, khoya, cashew powder and saffron infused milk. Mix it thoroughly on low flame. Keep stirring continulously till the mixture comes together and leaves the sides of the pan. By this time the mixture will turn brownish. Turn off the heat and sprinkle cardamom powder.

Take a flat tray or plate and grease it with half spoon of ghee. Pour the mixture and smoothen all the surfaces giving it a rectangular shape. Cut into squares with a clean sharp knife. Its better to clean the blade of the knife after each cut. Allow it to cool completely. Garnish with silver leaves and dry fruits of your choice.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Loita Maacher Chop

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My previous post on Loita Macher Jhuri is one of my most popular posts. Over at my blog and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BongCook) people have told me that Loita mach (Bombay Duck) is one of their favorite. In addition to having Loita in the main course, it lends itself pretty well as a snack. 

Ingredients

  • 1lb.loitya or Bombil
  • 1 medium onion chopped finely
  • 5-6 fat cloves of garlic 
  • 2-3 green chilies chopped finely
  • 2 medium potatoes boiled and peeled
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup bread crumb
  • Oil

Procedure

Wash and clean the fishes and rub them with salt. Arrange these fishes on a pan and cook it covered on very low heat. The fishes will release enough water. Take out the fishes. Once they are cool enough to handle, remove the central bone and head. Reserve the fleshy part of the fish for chops.
In a pan heat 2 tsp. oil and fry chopped onion, garlic and green chilies on medium heat. When onions turn translucent add fish followed by turmeric powder, chili powder, salt and sugar. Mix well and cook for few more minutes. When you see that there is no moisture left in the fish mixture turn off the heat and add chopped cilantro and garam masala powder.
Add mashed potato and mix well with the fish mixture. Allow the mixture to cool down completely.
Take lemon sized balls out of the mixture and using your palm give them a shape of chop.
Beat one egg with a pinch of salt to prepare the egg wash. Now dip each chop in egg wash and roll them over on a bed of bread crumb. Repeat this process again to ensure that the chops retain their form and don’t disintegrate. This is called double coating.
You can now store this covered in refrigerator for 1-2 days. Make sure you take out them at least half an hour before frying.
Heat oil in a wok until almost smoking and then deep fry each chop till they turn golden brown. Remove and drain them on a paper towel.
Serve with ketchup or kasundi and some salads.
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chicken Pakora

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These days we have a steady influx of guest who come visiting us as we settle down in our new home. Since it is Winter and sun sets by 4:30 p.m. we are mostly indoors sipping on hot coffee and battling the cold off. The perfect accompaniment to hot Americano is desi Chicken Pakora.

Even if you are not in a cold place and prefer soda over coffee, the pakoras go great with it. In the picture above I have used Pepsi Throwback, this lesser known beverage contains real sugar instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and tastes way better. If you are in the US or even otherwise have access to it,  go give it a try. I have also been told that Mexico doesn’t allow HFCS and hence all drinks across the border tastes better Smile.

Ingredients For Marinade

  • 1lb. chicken cut into small pieces on bone
  • 2 tsp. ginger paste
  • 2 tsp. garlic paste
  • 2 tsp. green chili paste
  • 2 lime squeezed into juice
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients For Batter

  • 5 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 5 tbsp.corn starch
  • 5 tbsp. rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  • Oil for deep frying

Procedure

Take clean chicken pieces and pat them dry. In a bowl mix chicken pieces with all ingredients for marinade and mix well. Keep them marinated in a refrigerator for 2- 3 hrs.

In another bowl combine flour, cornstarch, rice flour, salt. Whisk them well. add one egg to it and mix well so that the batter stays lump free. Pour little water at a time to make a smooth thick batter.

Heat oil for deep frying and pour a tablespoon of hot oil to the batter. Mix once again. This makes the pakoras crispier.

Take each chicken pieces, dip in the batter and gently release them one by one in the hot oil. Turn the heat to medium and fry them till you see the outer coating starts changing the color. Crank up the heat to high and fry the pakoras for few more minutes till the coating turns golden brown and becomes crispier.

Serve with your favorite ketchup and onion rings.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pati-Shapta

Today folks back home in Kolkata is celebrating Makar Sankranti a festival of harvest. The houses fill with the smell of guur (jaggery), fresh grated coconuts and rice. They also contend it is very cold there (ahem 55F is not cold it’s summer temp). I wanted to recreate the same magic and made some pithes. Among all the varieties I make this is our families favorite. I had posted the recipe before, but let me consolidate it here with better pictures and video steps.

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Ingredients For Filling / Pur

  • 1 lb. grated coconut
  • 1 lb. khoya/concentrated milk solids (an alternative to khoya is a cup of milk powder)
  • 3/4th cup khejur gur (date palm jaggery)

Procedure Of making Pur

In a large mixing bowl mix all the above ingredients thoroughly and check the sweetness. Adjust according to your taste. In a pan, cook the coconut mixture on a low flame till the mixture comes together and leaves the sides of the pan. You need to stir continuously to avoid the mixture from sticking to the base of the pan. Allow the mixture to cool down. Your filling is ready to use.

Ingredients For Crêpe

  • 2 cups Maida / all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 2,3 tbsp. of powdered sugar
  • 3-4 cups of cold milk
  • Ghee (clarified butter) for later use during frying

Make The Batter

Mix all dry ingredients together and slowly add milk to make an uniform batter. Mix well and make sure that no lump is formed. The batter will be little thinner than pancake batter.

Getting it all together

Heat a non-stick skillet or tawa and evenly spread a teaspoon of ghee/clarified butter. Sprinkle some water over it and when the water starts to sizzle, wipe off the ghee with a kitchen towel. You need to repeat this step before making each patishapta but use just few drops of ghee instead of a spoon full.

Pour a ladle full of batter on the tawa and with the back of the ladle spread it in a circle like making dosa. Cook it on low flame for 2-3 minutes. Put a spoon full of filling on one side and then roll it like a crepe. Step by step guide is below, click to enlarge.

 

You can have it, as it is, or spread 1 or 2 spoon of sweet condensed milk or liquid jaggery over it. Serve it hot.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dudh Puli

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Makar (Poush) Sankranti is just around the corner. This is when pithe is made in Bong homes. This weekend we had decided to stay at home and just relax. So I took the opportunity to make a variety of pithe. Since last time I received some feedback that the steps seemed complex, I recorded a video. Hope you enjoy that. Also I have decided to make videos for recipes which have nuances around how they are made. I am still working out the quirks so my first attempt has a bit of jaundice (see the video you will get it). My tech-support tells me it’s something to do with bad white balance, but trust me, we will get this right the next time around. Check out the video below, the detailed steps and process follows in this blog.

 

Ingredients For Shell

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 4 cups water

Ingredients For Stuffing

  • 1 cup grated coconut (Fresh or Frozen)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • 4 tbsp. milk powder
  • 4 tbsp. date palm jaggery
  1. 6 cups full cream milk for cooking pulis
  2. !/2 cup date palm jaggery

How To Prepare Stuffing

Take all the ingredients listed under stuffing in a pan.

Heat the mixture in a pan. Cook it on low flame till everything comes together and leaves the sides of the pan. Remove and allow it to cool. Your stuffing for puli is ready.

How To Prepare The Shell

IMG_3197In a pan take water along with sugar and ghee. Put on the heat and let it come to a boil. When the water starts boiling add rice flour slowly and keep mixing. Once you have added the entire rice flour keep stirring till the mixture turn into a dough. Cover the pan and turn the heat to its lowest mark. Allow the dough to sit for 2-3 minutes.

let the dough cool down a bit. When it is safe to handle take a lemon sized ball from it and roll it with very gentle pressure into a disc of 1.5 inch diameter. You can use regular dry all purpose flour to roll them.

Put a tea spoon full of coconut mixture at the center of the disc. Apply water at the edges. Fold the two edges and give it a shape of half moon. Press them tightly so that  they don't open while boiling. This is called the puli.

Take 6 cups of milk in a heavy bottom pan. Boil it on high heat while stirring continuously.Cook till t reduces to its half. Now add jaggery to it and mix well. Wait till it again comes to a boil. Gently slide each stuffed puli into the milk. Let them get cooked in the milk for 2-3 minutes. turn off the heat and allow them to cool before you serve.

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