So….. it’s been long that I have posted something in the blog. May be a month or so…. Wanting to write desperately but not getting the time to pen my words down was the case….. The reason being me joining back the IT workforce again. ….
Yes, a lot has happened in the past few months as I re-joined the workforce after a break of 2 years. The last 2 years really have been fabulous and would remain the most cherished moment of my life. But the rejoining incident was more of an accident than a planned one. …..
As you start something it takes time to settle down. So I have been irregular on my blog. Really sorry for that… but all said and done. . I am happy to restart my blogging journey after a short break now!!!
Yes, this time with more recipes from my kitchen… and a lot more lifestyle related posts are awaiting on this blog….. so accept my appologies and let’s restart our journey. ..
Today’s recipe is Mah di dal | Kaali dal | Black lentil. It’s essentially a North Indian punjabi khana. Traditionally it’s slow cooked. But in modern day scenario, we rarely have the luxury of time. In an attempt to keep the flavours of a typical Punjabi Mah di dal | Kaali dal | Black lentil intact, I have cooked this black lentil or black whole urad dal in this manner. It came out very nice, smooth and flavorful. Let’s check how I cooked Mah di dal | Kaali dal | Black lentil.
Black whole urad dal is a protein, fiber rich lentil, also a good source of folic acid. l have slow cooked the dal in a pressure cooker. At the end of the process, just a tadka of ghee and whole cumin seed is poured over. This is a very healthy recipe as well. To make things more creamy and interesting, I have applied a tablespoon of fresh cream. Interestingly, contrary to the popular belief, dal makhani is a separate Punjabi side dish that includes Rajma (red kidney beans), chana dal (bengal gram) along side with black whole urad dal. In Mah di dal | Kaali dal | Black lentil, traditionally only black lentil or black whole urad dal is used
As per bengali tradition, during Lakshmi puja, people make Gurer Narkel Naroo | Coconut balls with jaggery and offer to Goddess Laskhmi. Following the tradition and to celebrate Bijaya with near and dear ones, maa prepares narkel naroo every year at home! In childhood, I used to help ma in the process. I would make the coconut balls with my hands and then show them to babi when he comes back from office. Lovely were those days. Now, that I have my own family, I follow the same tradition and make them the day after dashami! These naroos are usually stored in glass jars or tins and served to guests those who pay visit to homes after Durga puja
Today’s recipe is “Garlic mashed potato”. The classic mashed potato and bread! Or Mashed potato and grilled fish…. In the west it’s a popular dish in their menu during occassions like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Though it would not be fair to draw a parallel with bengal’s own ‘alu sheddho’ a basic, simple recipe of boiled potatoes served with raw mustard oil, chopped onions and green chilli, that’s mashed potato for us, hence also called ‘alu makha’. Now Mashed potato is a classic English recipe that’s silky, smooth and lump free in its texture. It’s made with milk, butter, cream. This can be served to babies and nothing seems as perfect for their meals. For toddlers and growing kids, it’s packed with energy and nutrition as well. On top of it they live having it because it’s tasty as well!
I made this Mashed potato with garlic. Addition of garlic surely enhances the taste of mashed potato. I added fresh cream to enhance the flavour as well, though it’s optional. And the best part is I made it in a pressure cooker, hence reducing cooking time immensely
Peel off the skin and cut the potatoes into 4 pieces. In a pressure cooker, put the cut potatoes, add water. Close the lid and cook it for 6 – 7 whistles ( I used chandramukhi variety of potato, depending on the variety of potatoes used, whistles should be adjusted )
Let the steam escape. Drain off the excess water
Now, the potatoes are boiled and mashable. Add thinly chopped garlic ( Adding garlic in this manner may leave a few bits in the mashed potato though. Nevertheless the outcome is not bad at all )
Turning on to medium heat, mash the potatoes with a masher. No lumps or blocks should remain
Add butter, salt and black pepper
With a whisker, whisk it continuously over medium flame
Add hot milk now and whisk well again until the mixture is enough smooth, creamy, silky
Top it with fresh cream and whisk again till the desired texture and consistency is reached. Put off the flame and plate it
Serve the creamy, silky Garlic mashed potato as it is or with breads or grilled fish!
Biryanis are a regular affair now a days in most of the households. Variations of recipes are vast indeed. In my blog I have already shared a simple recipe of homemade Biryani, malai chicken Biryani, Mutton Dum Biryani and many more. Today I will share my prawn Biryani recipe with you all. This prawn biryani can be served as a one-pot meal or can be accompanied with Chicken rezala, chicken chaap, mutton kosha!
I use small prawns to make prawn Biryani. It’s a one-pot meal. To make our meals more filling and healthy, I do add generous amount of vegetables like potatoes, French beans, carrots. Also this time, I added boiled egg. Unlike all my biryani recipes, where I add potatoes cut into halves, here, I cut them into small cubes. Also instead of putting whole boiled eggs, I have cut the boiled eggs into halves and then cooked. Let’s check my recipe of simple prawn biryani in detail
I have been really intrigued by this recipe I found in an Awadhi cuisine book and it’s called Nargisi Kofta with minced chicken and egg. So today I decided to serve the same for lunch. It will be accompanied by plain rice. The recipe of Nargisi Kofta with minced chicken and egg is in reality mind blowing and is a chef’s delight. You get a coating of minced meat around boiled eggs. It’s then deep fried. It’s usually served in a gravy. When you cut the ball into halves, each half resembles an eye (‘Nargisi’ is hence related). I took minced chicken though you can take minced mutton as well. Let’s check the recipe now which is an adaptation from the original recipe mentioned in the book. The tweaks I made indeed enhanced the flavour of the kofta and the gravy. Though I wish to share the original recipe as well sometime soon!
Total time to make Nargisi Kofta with minced chicken and egg : 35 – 40 minutes
1 tsp garam masala powder (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon)
1 tsp garam masala powder (shahi) [cardamom (black and green), cloves, cinnamon, mace and numeg]
1 tsp amchoor or mango powder
Fistful of kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves
1 – 2 bay leaves
Refined oil/ ghee
Nargisi Kofta with minced chicken and egg recipe:
Boil eggs. De-shell them and keep aside
Take minced chicken. Add salt, garam masala powder, half of ginger garlic paste, half of chilli powder, half of pepper powder, 1 tsp amchoor, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder. Add besan now. Mix them all well together. Due to besan the minced chicken will remain bind
Now divide the mixture into 6 portions. Take each portion. Lay it flat on palm. Take an egg and coat it with the minced chicken mixture well around. It should be balls of a slightly elongated shape
Prepare the rest 5 balls or Koftas
Heat enough oil in a pan and deep fry the balls till all sides are golden brown in colour. Take them out and lay them on a plate. As per the refined oil is concerned, since we need deep frying in this recipe, I prefer using a low absorb oil. I use Sundrop heart for my cooking need (To see the product you may click here). Sundrop heart is enriched with the goodness of oryzanol and is made up of 80% Rice bran oil and 20% refined sunflower oil
For gravy, in the same oil drop the bay leaves. Add onion paste and salt. When it changes color to pink, add the rest of the ginger garlic paste and saute
Add tomato puree (a paste of the big tomato taken), saute
Add turmeric powder, kashmiri Mirch, rest of black pepper, coriander, cumin and red chilli powder. Stir till oil starts to release from the sides of the pan
Add curd and let oil start to ooze out again
Now add 2 – 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil
Drop in the fried koftas and simmer for 10 minutes or till gravy is of desired consistency
Add garam masala powder (shahi). Simmer for a minute or two
Add kasuri methi on top and simmer for another 2 minutes
Put off flame and serve hot!
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Are you hosting a Sunday brunch for your Bengali in-laws or friends? Well to start with Bengalis are a food loving community. Their lives revolve around their meals (khawa dawa) undoubtedly, me being a bengali can vouch on this. Apart from their eternal love of fish and sweets (rosogulla), they are in reality a voracious eater and are quite ready to experiment with food across different cultures in the world. Today I thought of sharing a post regarding Bangalir Khawa Dawa | A sample bengali meal | Non-veg Bengali Thali. So let’s see how a Bengali Thali may look like. The detailed recipes of the dishes would be presented in links. Just click them and know how to cook them for your family and friends!
To start with, they traditionally serve food to their guests on Banana leaves (kola pata), Shaal pata [indeed an environmental friendly approach]. Not only this, bengali food is also served in kasha (bronze) utensils. Bronze are an alloy of copper and tin. Now that’s a very royal way of having meals, is it not? So at one corner of the plate, they would roll out wedges of lemon and a little salt. You may add them to the food served to you as you please. They act as taste enhancers! Now, let’s see the items that are served in a traditional bengali thali in sequence. They are enlisted below:
4. Panch mishelir torkari (A mixed vegetable curry)/labda
5. Cholar dal
6. Topse fry
7. Basanti pulao
8. Bhetkir paturi / Ilish bhapa
9. Chicken rezala
10. Kasha khashir Mangsho
11. Tomato amshotto khejurer chutney and papad
13. Doi / Curd
Bangalir Khawa Dawa | A sample bengali meal | Non-veg Bengali Thali
1. Steamed plain rice | Saada bhaat:
A portion of plain and simple rice or saada bhaat is first served with ‘haata’, a flat big serving spoon looking like hand with five fingers. There are certain items that tastes the best when we have it with a plate of steamed rice
Then comes shukto. It’s an admixture of different sort of vegetables, cooked together with bori (small dried lentil dumplings). The bitterness is attributed by the bitter gourds. Other vegetables that are commonly used in shukto are raw papaya, green raw bananas, potatoes etc. You can add milk and a little sugar to enhance the taste!
Now, is served dal (lentils) and aloo bhaja (fried potatoes). Though jhuri aloo bhaja (thin, deep fried potatoes) is commonly served, you may also try this aloo bhaja recipe, that’s having the flavour of curry patta (sweet neem leaves). It’s a healthier option being not deep fried in oil. For dal, there’s a variety of recipes. Cholar dal is a common one though
Panch misheli a wonderful healthy blend of vegetables served along side. The dish generally contains five different vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkins, brinjal, daanta, pointed gourds and is cooked in a tadka of bengali’s own ‘Panch foron’ – a mixture of whole spices namely cumin, nigella, fenugreek, black mustard seeds, fennel seeds. Also can be served a labda curry, which is a mixture of vegetables and greens like pui saag!
So after you finish off with the initial healthy lot, now comes the main attraction of the whole bengali cuisine – the phase of the meal when one’s favourite rich, gravy dishes of fish, mutton, chicken are served. To accompany with those heroes, is served Basanti Pulao. Basanti pulao is a sweet pulao, that’s yellow in colour and hence named ‘basanti’
So for fish item, the most common bengali delicacy is Bhetkir paturi. Bhetkir paturi is nothing but fillets of barramundi or bhetki fish, cooked in a gravy of mustard, poppy seeds, wrapped in banana leaves. It tastes heavenly! Hilsa or ilsh bhaapa can also be served. Ilish bhaapa is nothing but Hilsa, sauted and cooked in steam in a gravy of poppy seeds and mustard seeds
Kosha khashir mangsho seems to be the main hero of the bengali platter and every bengali just yearns for it. Many people simple choose to skip the previously served delicacies just to gorge on kosha khashir mangsho. Kosha khashir mangsho is a mutton dish, which is served in an oil – rich dark coloured gravy!
So after the savoury rich gravy dishes, is the time for some ‘mishti’ items. So is served the dry fruit rich tomato chutney. The chutney is made up of tomatoes, dry mango candies(aam papad), dates, raisins, cashew nuts etc. It’s compulsorily paired with a piece of deep fried papad
Well, this is again the significant phase of a typical bengali cuisine. The formal dessert part starts here onwards. Rosogulla, a white, sponge ball of chhena, soaked in a sugary syrup is served invariably along with pantua or gulab jamuns. Also sondesh and different other sweets are served
Today’s recipe is Amritsari chole | Black spicy chickpea curry. It’s a chickpea or chole recipe that’s signature is its black color or dark hue. It can be served with steamed rice or puri. Chickpeas to mention, are a wonderful source of protein. It contains a lot of vitamins and minerals.Its good for bone health, diabetes, controlling blood pressure, cancer prevention.
I have made this Amritsari chole | Black spicy chickpea curry with chickpeas of small size (pundits chole). I soaked it in water for 12 hours and also added baking soda. Hence the chickpeas are soft and easily mash-able. Also black tea or tea liquor is to be used to get the typical black color. Anardana powder is also added to impart a typical sour taste to the chole. In absence of anar powder, you can put amchoor or dry mango powder. It’s all cooked in pressure cooker as well
Time required to cook Amritsari chole | Black spicy chickpea curry: 45 minutes
Amritsari chole | Black spicy chickpea curry recipe:
Soak chickpeas or kabuli chana in water for 12 hours. Drain water
In a pressure cooker, put chickpeas, water, turmeric powder, salt, baking powder and tea. Also add cinnamon, cardamom and clove. Close lid and pressure cooker on medium flame for 7 whistles or till the chickpeas are soft and mashable. Let steam settle on its own and then open the lid of the cooker
Heat oil in a pan. Add onion and saute till the colour changes to brown
Add ginger garlic paste and saute
Add tomato puree and salt. Cook till oil starts to separate
Add the Powdered spices and saute
In the pressure cooker, also mash the chickpea a little with the back of a laddle
Into the pressure cooker add the masala, green chillies and simmer for about 10 minutes or till the consistency is as desired
Now add Kasuri methi on top and simmer for 2 more minutes
Add hing and stir
Your Amritsari chole | Black spicy chickpea curry is ready to serve!
I often bake cakes for my family. It really needs no special occasion. I baked this Butterscotch milk cake with walnut and almond for my daughter’s tiffin box yesterday. It came out light, fluffy and tasty. Let’s check the recipe. You can also check my other cake recipes in the blog like carrot and coconut cake, nutty chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. To check my other recipes of baked dishes, please click here.
Time required to bake the Butterscotch milk cake with walnut and almond: 35 minutes