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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Rum Ball

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3115150987_eb750c5994_oEach time we go home to Kolkata we make it a point to visit Nahoum’s in New Market. This store has been at this place from 1916. Rulers have come and gone, the country has changed it’s boundaries, cities have changed name around it, but Nahoum has stuck to it’s origins. My favorite at Nahoum is their rum-balls. It is an European delicacy that had reached the shores of Kolkata via the British. It is generally made in the bakery with the left over cake/cookie crumbs bound together with chocolate and flavored with rum. Rum-balls taste the best after a few days of making them when the taste of Rum matures.

It had been some time since I last sent some goodies with my husband for his team-mates. Generally I send some Bengali sweets like Rasgulla/Sondesh but this time I thought of making a fresh batch of Rum-ball. Even though the rum-ball has it’s roots in Europe, it takes me back to my roots in Kolkata.

Ingredients

  • 500 gms. chocolate cake
  • 100 ml. golden rum
  • 4 tbsp. dark raisin
  • 4 dried plums
  • 4 candied cherry
  • 10 roasted almonds broken roughly
  • 3-4 tbsp. powdered sugar or honey
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder ( plain or Dutch processed)
  • 1/2 + 1 cups semi sweet cooking chocolate bar ( instead you can use 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips or white cooking chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Procedure

If you are making chocolate cake don’t use it on the same day. Use after a day or two so that the cake becomes a bit dry.

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Cut all dry fruits into tiny pieces and soak them in 30 ml. of rum.  Best if you can soak it overnight.

Cut cake into small pieces and put it in a blender. Give them a very quick pulse to make coarse crumbs. Put all the crumbs in a big mixing bowl.

Now take the soaked dry fruits in the blender and give a very quick run of a second or two to just crush them. Just make sure you do not process the nuts into a paste.

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Add the crushed dry fruit mixture to it along with powdered sugar,cocoa powder and rum. mix thoroughly with a spoon.

Now take half a cup of semi sweet cooking chocolate or chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and warm it up for 30 seconds. Give it a stir and heat it up for another 30 seconds. Take it out and mix it with a spoon. If it is already melted fine, else you can again heat it up for another 10 or 20 second. Remember to take it out and stir it every 30 seconds, else the chocolate will burn and become unusable.

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Add the melted chocolate to the cake mixture little at a time and keep mixing. You will notice that after mixing the ingredients together, the batter is quite sticky. To prevent your hands from becoming a mess and to ease the process of making balls chill the mix for at least 30-45 minutes.

Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and let the mixture cool in the refrigerator for about 30- 45 minutes till it hardens a little.

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Take it out and shape them into 1 inch balls with your hands. Place them on a cookie tray lined with butter paper.

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Once you are done, then comes the glazing. Take 1 and 1/2 cup of dark chocolate and 1 tsp. of unsalted butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat them up for 30 seconds. Stir it and again heat it for another 30 seconds. Take it out and mix well to make a lump free chocolate glaze.

Dip each ball in the glaze of melted chocolate, making sure that the entire ball is coated with chocolate. Using a fork remove the ball from the glaze allowing any excess glaze to drip back in the bowl.

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Place the glazed ball on the cookie tray lined with butter paper. when you are done place the tray in the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to harden.

By this time mix 1 tsp. of unsalted butter with white chocolate chips and make a white chocolate sauce following the same procedure as described before. Let it cool down a bit then pour it into a pastry bag. Cut a small hole in the corner and drizzle it over the rum balls.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Phulkopir Dalna (Cauliflower and Potato Curry)

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If you are a Bengali you have literally grown up eating Phulkopir Dalna. This is one of the most common and fundamental bong dish. At the beginning of Winter when fresh cauliflowers arrive at the local markets in Kolkata dalna becomes the staple curry at the bong household for the next few months. Even though cauliflower is used in a variety of recipes this simple dalna uses limited spices and help the true flavor of cauliflower to come through.

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower cut into medium sized florets
  • 2 medium sized potatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1” fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Bengali Garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp. ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • For Tempering
    • 2 bay leaves (Tejpatta)
    • 2 green chilies slit lengthwise
    • 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
    • Whole Garam Masala ( 1” cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, 2 green cardamom)

Procedure

In a pan dry roast whole cumin and coriander seeds till they turn fragrant. Let them come to room temperature and then make a fine powder of them in a grinder. add ginger to it and make a paste of all three of them by adding little water.

Heat 2 tbsp. oil and add cauliflower florets to it. Fry till the florets are well coated with oil and get a light brown hue. Remove from oil and keep aside.

Again add 2 tsp. oil and fry the potato pieces till they turn golden. Remove them.

Add 2 tbsp. of oil and temper it with bay leaves, whole garam masala, whole cumin seeds and green chilies.

Wait till they stop sizzling. Now add ginger, cumin and coriander paste. Sauté on slow fire till the raw smell of ginger goes away. Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, chili powder and fry well till the oil is separated.

Add fried potatoes to it and sauté everything together till all the potatoes are well coated with spices.

Add salt and sugar and give it a nice mix. Add one and half cup of water to it and cook it covered on low heat till potatoes are half done. Remove the lid and now add fried cauliflower florets. Mix once again and cook it covered till the vegetables are done.

add a spoonful of ghee and sprinkle  little garam masala powder to it. Serve with hot rice or chapatis.

 

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