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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sorse Rui (Rohu in Mustard Gravy)




A traditional Bengali lunch is not complete without a fish curry where hot steaming rice is served with daal, fried vegetables and finally with a fish preparation. Here is the recipe for Sorse Rui (Rohu in Mustard Gravy) ideal to have with rice during lunch time.
Ingredients:
  • 4 pieces rui (rohu)
  • 2 tbsp black mustard seeds (sorse)
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds (posto)
  • 2 green chiili (for mustard paste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 2-4 tbsp mustard oil (as required), to fry fish
  • 3-4 chilli (slit lengthwise) to decorate
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped (optional)
Procedure:
  1. Clean and wash the fish pieces and sprinkle 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and a 1/2 tsp salt on the pieces and rub on all sides. Keep aside for 10 mins.
  2. Grind the mustard and poppy seeds with 2 green chillies in a blender to form a smooth paste. Add a little water while making the paste. (Do not overgrind, as mustard paste may get bitter).
  3. Heat oil in a kadhai and shallow fry the fish in 2 tbsp mustard oil. Flip to the other and fry till light brown (Ensure even frying on both the sides).
  4. Heat the oil in the kadhai (left after frying fish), add 1 tsp turmeric powder, mustard paste (diluted with a little water), red chilli powder and salt. Mix well. Add 1/2 cup water (as per gravy).
  5. Release the fried fish in the mustard gravy and let it come to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for about 5-6 min till gravy thickens a little.
  6. Transfer in a serving bowl. Garnish with green chlli. Serve with hot steaming rice.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Chocolate Fudge Cake



It's been a long time since I have baked a cake. A recipe for Chocolate Fudge Cake as found in a cake recipe book.

Ingredients:
  • 325 gms plain chocolate cake covering
  • 275 gms white butter
  • 175 gms caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 175 gms self raising flour
  • 50 gms ground rice
  • 10 ml / 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 50 gms flaked almonds
  • 100 gms icing sugar
  • 10-15 ml coffee essence
  • toasted almonds, half dipped in melted chocolate, to decorate

Procedure:

  1. Line a 9 inch round cake tin with buttered greaseproof paper.
  2. Warm half the cake covering in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  3. Whisk 225 gms butter and caster sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs, keeping the mixture stiff.
  4. Slowly beat in the flour with ground rice, vanilla essence and flaked almonds and the cool, (but still liquid) chocolate cake covering.
  5. Turn the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in oven at 180°C / 350°F, mark 4 for 11/2 hours. Cool in the tin for 30 mins before turning out.
  6. Melt the remaining chocolate cake covering and coat the top and sides of the cake.
  7. Whisk the remaining butter in a bowl, beat in sifted icing sugar and coffee essence.
  8. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe around the cake top (You can pipe design as per your choice). Decorate with toasted almonds.

Roasted Tomato Chutney




A delicuous chutney made with ripe tomatoes to savour in hot afternoon with rice and curries. My mom-in-law used to make this chutney by roasting ripe red tomatoes specially during summer time. I loved that smoky taste and flavour of roasted tomatoes. So here is the recipe for Roasted Tomato Chutney as learnt from her.



Ingredients:

  • 5-6 medium sized tomatoes
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 3-4 bunch fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 green chilli
  • 4-5 tbsp powdered sugar (to taste)
  • ½ tsp salt (to taste)

Procedure:

Wash the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes on a wire mesh on the gas.

Switch on gas and roast the tomatoes till the tomato skin starts to blacken.

Use a tong to turn the tomatoes and ensure they are roasted on all sides. (Insert a fork to ensure whether the inside is soft or not).

Switch off gas, remove the tomatoes and collect in a plate. Slowly and carefully remove the outer blackened skin (it is easier to remove the skin while the tomatoes are still a little hot).

Take a mixing bowl. Add salt, sugar & the skinned tomatoes and mash the tomatoes coarsely. (Try to mix with the sugar while the tomatoes are hot so that sugar gets dissolved easily).

Add the chopped red & green chilli and coriander leaves and mix thoroughly.

You can refrigerate the chutney or serve at room temperature with rice / paranthas.

This is my second entry for Fall in Love (FIL) - Tomato event hosted by Sanghi of Sanghi's Food Delights.

Aam Pora Shorbot (Roasted Mango Pulp Sherbet)


Delectable summer drinks like Aam Pora Shorbot, Beler Shorbot (sherbet made with passion fruit), Zafrani / Kesari Sherbet, including yogurt drinks like Ghol / Chaas and Lassi are traditional coolers and excellent remedies to beat the sweltering heat of Kolkata summer. They help in digestion and the salt & sugar combination of the drinks keeps the electrolyte level of the body in control.
Aam Pora Shorbot (sherbet prepared with roasted mango pulp) is useful in rehydrating the body and preventing Heat Stroke / Sunstroke (A metabolic disorder where the body temperature increases and the body is unable to dissipate the heat and can even lead to unconsciousness). Here is the recipe as learnt from my mother.

Ingredients:

  • 2 raw mangoes
  • a pinch salt (per glass or to taste)
  • 3-4 tsp sugar (per glass)
  • 150-200 ml water (per glass)
  • a pinch of rock salt (to garnish)
  • a pinch of roasted cumin seeds (jeera) powder
  • ice cubes

Procedure:

  1. Wash the mangoes and cut a small portion (circular shape) at the tip of the mangoes.
  2. Roast the mangoes on gas flame while turning them to ensure even roasting on all sides.
  3. Remove from flame and let them cool. When the mangoes are cool enough to handle, remove the outer skin and discard the pit.
  4. Collect the mango pulp and accumulated juices in a mixing bowl and coarsely mash the pulp.
  5. While serving, put 2 tsp of roasted mango pulp (if you want it thick, put more pulp) in a glass. Add sugar and salt (mix as per requirement) and requisite water and stir well so that the sugar is completely dissolved.
  6. Sprinkle a pinch of rock salt and roasted jeera powder, stir and serve with ice cubes.

Treating Heat Stroke / Sunstroke:
Mix 4 tsp of roasted mango pulp with 200 ml of water and enough sugar with salt. Consume it every one hour. (Generally symptoms of Heat Stroke subsides within 3 to 6 hours of consuming using mango pulp drinks).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eggs In Milk




I wrote about Eggs in Milk in my earlier post. Lots of my friends were very curious about this recipe. So here is the recipe for Eggs in Milk.

As everyone know, eggs are considered a good source of nutrition as they add protein and other nutrients to one’s diet. A nutritious & delicious recipe with the goodness of egg & milk with very few ingredients and it also takes very little time to cook.

Chicken eggs are the most commonly eaten eggs. They supply all essential amino acids and provide several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, choline, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. They are also an inexpensive single-food source of protein.

Choline is an important nutrient for development of the brain, and is said to be important for pregnant and nursing women to ensure healthy fetal brain development.

Ingredients:

  • 100 gms / 4 eggs
  • 2 cups water (to boil eggs)
  • 1 cup / 250 ml milk
  • 4 tbsp onion paste (2-3 large onions, made into a paste)
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 green chilli
  • 2 tbsp white oil
  • 1 ½ tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Procedure:

  1. Add water and pressure-cook the eggs till 3 whistles. Drain water and de-shell the boiled eggs. Make 4 small slits with a knife on the outer edge of the eggs. Keep aside.
  2. Chop the onions, put in a blender with a green chilli. Add 1 tbsp of water and blend to form a smooth paste.
  3. Heat oil in non-stick deep bottomed pan / kadhai. Reduce flame and add the onion – chilli paste. Saute a little (make sure that the paste do not turn brown).
  4. Add the ginger & garlic paste and stir well.
  5. Gradually add the milk and keep stirring continuously. Add salt to taste and mix well.
  6. Release the eggs in the gravy. Increase the flame and let the gravy thicken a bit. (You can add ½ cup water, if required).
  7. Remove from flame and transfer the eggs in the serving bowl. Pour the gravy on top.
  8. Garnish with the chopped fresh coriander leaves. Serve with stuffed paranthas & green salads.


Storing and cooking tips on Tomatoes



Tomato is classified as a type of vegetable and is used in various dishes in main courses including green salads and pickles & chutneys. Some tips on storing and cooking techniques of tomatoes.
Storing Tips on Tomatoes:
  1. As long as they are kept at room temperature, tomatoes bought at the mature green stage will soften slightly, turn red and finish ripening to develop their full flavour and aroma.
  2. You can place the tomatoes in a shallow bowl at room temperature until they are ready to eat (Don't refrigerate, as tomatoes stored in the refrigerator tend to lose flavor).
  3. To speed up the process, place tomatoes in a brown paper bag / closed container in a single layer (with the top side up) to trap the ethylene gas which helps in ripening the tomatoes.
  4. Once they are fully ripened, tomatoes can be kept at room temperature or refrigerated for several days.
  5. But remember to use tomatoes only when they are back to room temperature to get their fullest flavour in cooking.
Cooking Techniques:
  1. Peel: Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover tomatoes and bring to a boil. Immerse tomatoes for 1/2 minute, drain and cool. Remove stem ends and peel off the skins.
  2. Seed: Cut tomatoes in half, crosswise. Gently squeeze and remove the seeds. To reserve the juice (for dressings, sauces or soups), place a strainer over a bowl and seed the tomato.
  3. Tomato Shells: Cut a 1/2 inch slice off the stem end of each tomato. Using a spoon, scoop out the pulp & seeds to form empty tomato shells.
  4. Roast: Tomatoes can be roasted over glas flame and oven.
  5. Slow-Cook: Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove stem ends and slice the tomatoes. Place slices on a shallow baking pan and brush with oil. Cook for 40-45 mins until tomatoes soften and shrink.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kesari Chicken Biryani


Preparing biryani is always an elaborate affair at my in-law's place. The main dish should be accompanied with raita, green salads and an appropriate sweet dish. Here is the recipe for Kesari Chicken Biryani.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups / 400 gms basmati rice
  • 1 kg chicken (cut into 8-10 pieces)
  • 1/2 cup / 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp garlic paste
  • 3 cups / 600 gms curd / yogurt
  • 6 tbsp ghee
  • 2-4 green chiili, chopped
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 5 cups water
  • few strands of saffron / kesar
  • 1/2 cup (100 ml) warm milk
  • a pinch of yellow food colour
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves / pudina patta, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves / dhaniya patta, finely chopped
Whole Spices:
  • 2 bay leaves / tej patta
  • 4 (1") cinnamon sticks / dalchini
  • 10 cloves / laung
  • 10 green cardamoms / chhoti elaichi
  • 2 black cardamoms / badi elaichi
  • 1 tsp mace / jawitri
  • 3 tsp black cumin seeds / shahi jeera
Garnish:

  • 2 large onions, sliced & fried
  • 10-12 pieces, kashewnuts, fried
  • 1 bunch corinader leaves, chopped
  • 1 boiled egg, sliced
Procedure:

  1. Clean and wash the chicken pieces. Wash and soak the rice for 30 mins. Beat the curd and divide into two equal portions.
  2. Dissolve the saffron strands in warm milk. Add one portion of the beaten curd to the saffron-milk. Keep aside.
  3. Take a deep bottomed handi / pan, add water and bring to boil. Reduce flame and add 1 bay leaf, 2 green cardamom and 2 cloves.
  4. Add the drained rice to the boiling water and add salt to taste. Cover and cook until the rice is half cooked. Drain the rice. Apply yellow food colour to the rice. Mix and keep aside.
  5. Heat ghee in a deep bottomed kadhai, add the remaining whole spices with black cumin seeds and fry on medium heat.
  6. Add the sliced onions and saute until golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chillies, mint & coriander leaves and red chilli powder and fry for 1-2 mins.
  7. Add the chicken and salt to taste and cook for a further 3 - 4 minutes.
  8. Mix the second portion of the beaten curd with 1 cup water, add to the kadhai and bring to the boil. Reduce flame and simmer until the chicken is almost done.
  9. Take a handi, grease with a little ghee and place about 1/3rd of semi-cooked rice in it.
  10. Layer half of the chicken pieces on the rice. Sprinkle half of the saffron-milk & curd mixture over this.
  11. Top with the second layer of rice, remaining chicken and sprinkle the remaining saffron-milk & curd mixture over this.
  12. Finally make a layer with the remaining rice. Add the fried onion slices and kashewnuts.
  13. Lid the vessel and make it airtight (put a layer of atta dough round the vessel top).
  14. Put on high flame for 5 mins and then reduce to low flame. Wait for 2-3 min, turn the vessel (ensure that you do not shake the handi) and keep rotating the vessel every 2-3 min for about 15-20 min.
  15. Put off the flame and wait for about 10 min before opening. Before serving, mix the biryani from the bottom.
  16. Garnish with boiled egg halves & chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with raita, chutney and green salads.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pudina Parantha


It is the turn for the final dish of tonight's menu, pudina parantha. The process of making the dough for pudina parantha is just like kneading the dough for ordinary roti only here I added a few chopped mint leaves in the whole wheat flour. You can also prepare pudina roti / chappati instead of the parantha.

Ingredients:

  • 200 gms wheat flour / atta
  • 4 tbsp freshly mint leaves / pudina patta, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp thymol seeds / ajwain
  • 2 tbsp white oil, to knead dough
  • ½-1 cup warm water (for kneading dough)
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • ½ tsp red chili powder (to taste)
  • white oil, for frying

Procedure:

  1. Sieve atta and take in a mixing bowl. Add chopped mint leaves, ajwain, white oil, salt and red chilli powder and mix well.
  2. Slowly & gradually add water and knead to form a soft dough. Cover with a moist cloth for 30 mins.
  3. Roll into a slightly thick roti / chappati than usual.
  4. Heat a non stick frying pan / tawa and place a rolled out roti / chappati.
  5. Flip to the other side after you notice the colour change and spots appear on the lower side of the roti / chappati. Apply 1 tsp oil and ensure even frying on both the sides.
  6. Serve hot with pickles, green salad, raita and chicken / mutton curry.

Tip: This can also be prepared in a tandoor, apply some water on the back side of the parantha and stick it in a hot tandoor.

Mint, Cucumber & Yogurt Raita



I generally prepare cucumber & yogurt raita as it is liked by the family members. As tonight I am having a mint based menu, just added a few chopped mint leaves in the curd mixture to form a mint, cucumber & yogurt raita.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sour curd
  • 1 small cucumber, grated
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin seed / jeera powder
  • a pinch rock salt, for garnishing

Procedure:

  1. Wash, peel and grate the cucumber and place the grated cucumber on a strainer to drain the excess water.
  2. Strain the curd in a clean & thin / muslin cloth to squeeze out the water and collect the curd in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the grated cucumber (press to ensure that there is no excess water, chopped garlic & mint leaves and mix well.
  4. Add salt, powdered sugar, red chilli powder and mix well (Add ½ cup water, if required).
  5. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Sprinkle rock salt & roasted cumin seed powder and serve well chilled.

Saag Aloo Mattar (Peas & Potato in Spinach Gravy)



Thought of making Saag-Aloo (a nutritious dish made of spinach & potatoes) dish for tonight’s dinner. While preparing I found out there was no coriander leaves (which I generally use for spinach gravy recipes) but a handful bunch of mint leaves were available. Well wary at first of the taste, substituted coriander leaves with the mint leaves and voila...the final dish was also delicious with the typical smell of mint.
A few bunch of mint leaves were extra so I prepared mint, cucumber & yogurt raita and instead of plain roti made pudina parantha to have a whole course "minty" menu for tonight's dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 bunch spinach, roughly chopped
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 1 cup shelled peas
  • 2 bunch mint leaves
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped / grated
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • 1-2 green chilli (as per taste)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • a few mint leaves, for garnishing
  • 1 tbsp roasted cumin seeds / jeera powder

Procedure:

  1. Wash the palak thoroughly. Pressure cook the palak in a little water. Add 2 garlic cloves and a little salt (spinach do not absorb salt, so be careful while adding salt to water).
  2. Give 2 whistles, remove from fire and let the cooker come down to normal temperature.
  3. Wash & peel the potatoes and dice to small cubes. Wash the shelled peas.
  4. Boil water in a pan, add a little salt and steam the diced potatoes and peas till tender but not too mushy. Remove from flame, drain the boiled vegetables and keep aside.
  5. Meanwhile put the pressure cooked palak (ensure the palak is cooled thoroughly), 2 bunch of mint leaves and green chilli in a mixie and blend to form a smooth puree.
  6. Take a non stick pan, heat oil and saute the chopped / grated onions till light brown. Add the ginger & garlic paste and fry for 2 mins.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes and spinach puree and cook till the tomatoes are mixed thoroughly and the palak starts to bubble.
  8. Reduce the flame and add the boiled potato cubes & peas, salt, red chili powder & garam masala and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Transfer in a serving dish. Garnish with mint leaves and roasted jeera powder and serve hot with roti / paranthas.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cannellini, Carrot & Chicken Soup



Making my son eat vegetables and legume is a tough matter. So I try to prepare dishes as per his liking utilizing vegetables and lentils which are not visible in the final dish. Here is a healthy Continental soup with cannellini beans, carrots and chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 200 gms cannellini beans / white Italian kidney beans
  • 1 large chicken leg portion
  • 150 gms onions (peeled & finely chopped)
  • 125 gms carrots (peeled & finely sliced)
  • 1 stick celery (trimmed & sliced)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ltr water
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped coriander leaves (optional) for garnish

Procedure:

  1. Soak the beans overnight. Take a pressure cooker, put the beans, add water as required and bring to a boil.
  2. Cover and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles, simmer and cook the beans for about 40-45 mins. Drain.
  3. Now put the onion, carrots & celery slices with the beans, chicken portion, a pinch of salt and bay leaf in the pressure cooker.
  4. Add 1 ltr water, cover and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles and simmer to cook for 20 mins.
  5. Remove the chicken portion from the pressure cooker, remove the bone and make small chicken slices. Discard the bay leaf.
  6. Put all the boiled vegetables except the chicken pieces in a blender, add a little stock and blend to form a puree.
  7. Take a deep bottomed saucepan, add the puree & rest of the stock and adjust the salt. Add the chicken pieces in the pan and mix well.
  8. Serve hot in serving bowls with 2 small knobs of butter, chopped coriander leaves and buttered garlic bread toast.

Missi Roti


Missi Roti is a Rajasthani speciality and a type of chappati / parantha. If you all remember my post on Chillah (another Rajasthani recipe), where I used besan, atta and maida with a variety of vegetables. Well missi roti is prepared with wheat flour and gram flour.

Ingredients:

  • 200 gms wheat flour / atta
  • 200 gms gram flour / besan
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera a pinch of asafoetida / hing
  • 2 tbsp kasoori methi powder1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (to taste)white oil, for frying
  • ½-1 cup warm water (for making dough)

Procedure:

  1. Sieve atta to remove the husk. Take the sieved atta & besan in a mixing bowl. Add cumin seeds, kasoori methi powder, salt & red chili powder and mix well.
  2. Add a little oil and gradually add water and knead to form a soft dough. Cover with a moist cloth and keep aside for 30 mins. Make 10-12 small round shaped balls.
  3. Take a ball, press to form a flat shaped dough and roll into a slightly thick roti / chappati than usual.
  4. Heat a non stick frying pan / tawa and place a rolled out roti / chappati.
  5. Flip to the other side after you notice the colour change and when spots appear on the lower side of the chappati.
  6. Apply 1 tsp oil on the outer edge of the roti and ensure even frying on both the sides.
  7. Serve missi roti hot with pickles, green salad, raita and chicken / mutton curry.

Tips:
You can add a pinch of turmeric while making the dough.

This roti can also be made in a Tandoor. When made in Tandoor, apply ghee and serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rava Idli



Idli is a healthy food and much loved South Indian snack, made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils and rice. Most often eaten at breakfast or as a snack, idlis are usually served with green / coconut chutney and sambar. One of my colleagues used to bring idlis with molagai podi (mixtures of crushed dry spices).

Rava Idli is a popular variety of idli, a speciality of the state of Karnataka in India. Rava means semolina (suji) in the native Kannada language. Rava Idli is usually found in restaurants that serve the Udupi cuisine. During our stay in Bangalore, we tasted Rava Idli in a popular restaurant “Udupi Park Family Restaurant” on Airport Road, opp Kemp Fort.

Serves: 8-10 idlis

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup semolina / rava / suji
  • 150 gms / 1 cup sour curd
  • 1 tsp fruit salt / eno
  • 1 tbsp cashewnuts
  • ¼ tsp soda-bi-carbonate
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • 2-3 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 tsp white oil
  • water (as required, for batter)
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • salt to taste
Procedure:

  1. Heat oil in a kadhai, add the curry leaves and mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  2. Lower the flame, add the cashewnuts, dry red chilies, sauté a little and then add the semolina (sieved).
  3. Roast till the semolina is light brown (don’t fry too much). Remove from flame and let the mixture cool thoroughly.
  4. Put all the ingredients in a mixer and blend to form a smooth powder.
  5. Take a bowl, add the powdered mixture, add curd and soda-bicarb & salt. (Add water as required, but not too much).
  6. Mix well to form a thick batter and keep aside for atleast 2 hours.
  7. Grease the microwave safe idli moulds with ghee and pour a ladle full of batter in the moulds (Remember not to fill the moulds to the top).
  8. Microwave (covered) at 60% power for 5-6 mins. Let it be in the microwave for 5-6 mins.
    Demould and serve with coconut chutney and sambar.

Tip:
First time I made idli in a microwave, I found that the idlis are not as soft as those made in a steamer / pressure cooker. So next time, I used butter milk instead of water while making the idli batter.
Be sure to use enough water in a microwave idli maker as the steam from the water helps in making soft idlis.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Speedy Tomato and Pepper Soup




A new variation for the good old tomato soup, done in a microwave and that too with few ingredients. A healthy & nutrituous soup which can be served with sandwiches and green salads.

I prepared this soup keeping in mind my son, who do not like to have soup other than chicken soup (cream of chicken, sweet corn chicken soup to name a few). I thanked my lucky stars, when on the way to Nainital he tasted tomato soup for the first time and liked it tremendously.

So now my kid has 2 soups in his menu, chicken soup and tomato soup. I did not use black pepper when I made the soup initially for him. You can always add the freshly ground black pepper at the end (as per taste).

Ingredients:

  • 250 gms tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh cream, whipped
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 4 cups water
  • salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • fried bread croutons, for garnishing
Procedure:

  1. Dissolve cornflour in 1/2 cup water and keep aside.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave 1 cup of butter at 100% power for 30 secs.
  3. Add chopped garlic, onions, tomatoes, salt and 1/2 cup water. Microwave covered at 100% power for 5-6 mins. Let it cool in the microwave for 5 mins.
  4. Blend in a blender, strain to form a smooth tomato puree.
  5. Take another microwave safe bowl, add the tomato puree, 3 cups water and cornflour mixture and mix well. Microwave at 100% power for 4 mins. Stir in between.
  6. Remove from microwave. Stir in the whipped cream.
  7. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with fried bread croutons and serve hot.
Sending this entry to Fall In Love (FIL) - Tomato Event hosted by Sanghi of Sanghi's Food Delights!

Click the logo for details.


Misti Singhara (Sweet Samosa)



Misti singhara (or sweet samosa) is one of my favourite sweet dish. Very easy to prepare also. The process of making sweet samosa is similar to that of the popular samosa (filled with fried vegetable stuffing) only here the stuffing is of khoya / kheer and the final samosas are dipped in the sugar syrup.

Ingredients:
  • 200 gms (2 cups) plain flour / maida
  • 200 gms (2 cups) khoya kheer / mawa
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 tsp saunf (mouri / aniseed)
  • ½ cup boiling water (as required)
  • 1- ½ tbsp white oil (for kneading dough)
  • white oil / ghee, for frying

Sugar Syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 4-5 green cardamom (chhoti elaichi)
  • few strands of saffron
Making sugar syrup:
  1. To make the hot sugar syrup, take a deep pan, mix the 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water. (ratio is 1 part of sugar to 2 parts of water) and bring to a boil.
  2. Add 4-5 cardamom pods (crushed) and saffron.
  3. Mix with a spoon until all the sugar is dissolved in water. Boil the syrup and then simmer to reduce the water by half.
  4. Check the consistency by pouring a little syrup from the ladle. Clear the syrup by removing the scum formed on the top and transfer the hot syrup into a serving dish.

Kheer Filling:

  1. Crumple the khoya kheer / mawa with hand.
  2. Take a heavy bottomed non-stick pan, add the crumpled khoya kheer / mawa, add nutmeg powder, saunf and stir on low flame for 3-4 mins.
  3. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.

Preparing the samosas:

  1. Take a bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Add 1 tsp white oil and boiling water.
  2. Mix well and knead to form a soft dough (but not too loose). Keep aside covered for 30 mins. Divide the dough into 6-8 round balls.
  3. Take a rolling board and roll out one ball into round thin pancakes (like we do for puri / luchi). Cut it into half (semicircle shape)
  4. Take a semicircle shaped pancake in the left hand (with the straight edge on the top).
  5. Take a bowl with little water. Dip index finger of your right hand in water and apply on the straight edge of the semi circle.
  6. Place your left thumb in the middle of the pancake and fold the right side of the semicircle. Overlap the other half on the straight edge, making a cone. Press the straight edge and seal properly.
  7. Invert the cone and place in your left hand so that it looks like a funnel and stuff 1 tbsp of the khoya kheer / mawa filling inside the cone.
  8. Now press the open edge in a straight line and seal properly (seal towards the sealed conical edge) to form a samosa.
  9. Repeat the process to prepare all the samosas and cover with a moist cloth (If the samosas become dry, the dough may crack during frying)

Frying:

  1. Heat oil in deep bottomed kadhai / pan. Lower flame.
  2. Slowly release the prepared samosas to oil and fry on slow heat.
  3. Flip to other side and fry till even light brown. Remove from fire and drain excess oil by keeping the fried samosas on a paper towel / tissue paper.

Coating in sugar syrup:

  1. After frying, dip the fried samosas immediately in the sugar syrup (use a strainer) to ensure even coating on all sides.
  2. Remove from sugar syrup and refrigerate. Serve cold / warm as per taste.
Sending this post to the Event - Holi Hai!!! hosted by Purva of Purva's Dawat.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani



I am back with a delicious Biryani recipe. I had Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani, first time during my stay in Bangalore. What surprised me that they serve a gravy with the biryani dish along with raita / green salads. So when I prepared the recipe at home, I kept the gravy and served it along with the biryani.
Ingredients:
  • 350 gms mutton, cut into cubes
  • 200 gms basmati rice
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 medim sized tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup curd
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder (to taste)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 6-7 green chillies
  • 4 tbsp white oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped
  • 1-2 cups boiled water (as required for gravy)
  • 4-5 strands saffron
  • 2 tbsp milk
Whole Spices:

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 green cardamoms, slit
  • 3 black cardamoms, slit
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 1/2" cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
Garnish:
  • 2 large onions, sliced & fried
  • 10-12 pieces, kashewnuts, fried
  • 1 bunch corinader leaves, chopped
  • 1 boiled egg, sliced
Procedure:
  1. Clean and wash the mutton cubes. Keep aside.
  2. Wash basmati rice and soak in 2 cups of water for atleast 1/2 an hour.
  3. In a bowl, add curd, 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste, a pinch of turmeric & red chilli powder, 1 tsp coriander powder and salt and mix well. Marinade the mutton cubes in the curd mixture for 2 hours.
  4. Peel and wash the onions. Slice 2 onions and finely chop the remaining 2 onions. Chop tomatoes and green chillies.
  5. Heat white oil and ghee in a kadhai and fry the sliced onions till brown. Drain and keep aside.
  6. In the same oil, add the whole spices, cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add the chopped onions and saute till light brown.
  7. Add the remaining (1 tsp) ginger-garlic paste, chopped tomatoes, coriander, cumin & turmeric powder and sliced green chillies.
  8. Take out the marinated meat cubes, add to the kadhai and saute well. Add the curd mixture (in which mutton was marinated), mint leaves, boiled water and cook till mutton is half done.
  9. While the mutton is cooking, prepare the biryani rice. Par boil rice with 1-1/2 cup of water with a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer on low heat till half done. Drain the water.
  10. Dissolve saffron in 2 tbsp of milk and add to a portion of the semi-cooked rice and mix gently. Keep aside.
  11. Take a handi, place about half of semi-cooked rice in it. Next, layer half of mutton cubes on the rice. (Keep the gravy aside for serving).
  12. Top with another layer of rice and remaining mutton and finally make a layer with the saffron mixed rice. Add the fried onion slices and kashewnuts.
  13. Lid the vessel and make it airtight (put a layer of atta dough round the vessel top).
  14. Put on high flame for 5 min and then reduce to low flame. Wait for 2-3 min, turn the vessel (ensure that you do not shake the handi) and keep rotating the vessel every 2-3 min for about 15-20 min.
  15. Put off the flame and wait for about 10 min before opening. Before serving, mix the biryani from the bottom.
  16. Garnish with boiled egg halves & chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with mutton gravy, raita, green chutney and green salads.

Trip to Nainital





Everybody must be wondering where on earth I have disappeared!!! I was on a welcome break trip to Nainital. Well here's some information on one of the most beautiful hill resorts in Northern India.


Nainital is situated in the Uttarakhand State and headquarters of Nainital district in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas, also known as the "Lake District of India" and known for the scenic natural splendour.

Situated at an altitude of 1,938 mt (6,358 ft) above sea level, Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped (some people say mango-shaped) lake.

Nainital is known for the exquisite beauty of Nainital Lake, which is surrounded by seven mountains, of which the highest are Naina on the north, Deopatha on the west and Ayarpatha on the south. The north end of lake is called Mallital while the southern one is called Tallital.

Some of the tourist spots are Haldwani, Kaladhungi, Ramnagar, Bhowali, Ramgarh, Mukteshwar, Bhimtal, Sattal and Naukuchiatal.

Nainital in Mythology:
It is believed that the Naini Lake is one of the 64 Shakti Peeths, or religious sites where parts of the charred body of Sati (Parvati) fell on earth while being carried by Lord Shiva. The spot where Sati's eyes (or Nain) fell, came to be called Nain-tal or (lake of the eye). In present time, goddess Shakti is worshipped at the Naina Devi Temple on the north shore of the lake.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Aam Panna



Found about a wonderful cause from Priya who is a member of BloggerAid. The group is publishing a book with the recipes prepared by the foodie bloggers around the world, a really noble gesture againt the hunger. The profit from the sales of the cookbook will be directed to School Meals, a programme of The World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations frontline agency......

Here is my contribution to the cause: Aam Panna
I wrote about Coolers in a previous post. Aam Panna is type of Cooler known for its heat resistant properties and is an effective remedy for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It is made from raw green mangoes and also used as a delicious, refreshing and healthy beverage to fight against the intense summer heat.
The recipe requires few ingredients and mangoes are readily available across the globe, but you have to ensure to prepare with raw mangoes only. I cannot write the recipe, until the cook book is out...
So you have to wait till the book is finally published.


Guidelines:
You don't need to be a member of Blogger Aid to submit a recipe. You just need a willingness to share your love of food from around the world and want to be involved in raising awareness and money for this program. There is no cost to you, just a sense of satisfaction that comes from participating in this exciting project and seeing your name and recipe in print.
You may post about your recipe but without revealing the ingredients...the cookbook will be the round-up where your recipe will be published. Once the cookbook has been published you can publish your recipe wherever you like...it will always be yours and you will always receive full credit.

Here to encourage all in joining hands for a wonderful cause...For more details, click here

Moong Daal Laddoo



Laddoo / Laddu is a type of sweet often prepared to celebrate festivals or household events. There are different types of laddoos like boondi / motichur laddoo, rava laddoo, besan laddoo, mawa laddoo to name a few…
Here is the recipe for Moong Daal Laddoo, which is easy to prepare at home. You can either soak the daal, grind to make a paste, fry and then make the laddoos (A little time consuming method as the frying takes a lot of time).
Another process is to use powdered moong daal flour (or powder the dry roasted moong daal) and then prepare the laddoos.
Ingredients


  • 300 gms (1½ cup) moong daal (yellow split green gram daal)
  • 300 gms (1½ cup) sugar
  • 250 gms / 1 cup melted ghee (as required)
  • 6 black cardamoms (badi elaichi), crushed
  • 2 tsp ghee (for preparing final laddoo)
Procedure:
  1. Take a kadhai and dry roast the moong dal (you can use sona moong dal) on low flame until the colour changes to light brown / red.
  2. Cool thoroughly and grind the roasted daal and sugar in a blender to form a powdered mixture. Keep aside a portion of the daal & sugar powder.
  3. Take a non-stick kadhai, melt a little ghee and add the grounded daal & sugar. Add the crushed cardamoms. Mix well and stir continuously.
  4. Add the rest of the ghee a little a time and mix well till all the ingredients are fried and coated with ghee.
  5. Remove from heat. Smear hand with a little ghee and make small round balls.
  6. Roll the laddoos on the powdered (daal & sugar) mixture and refrigerate to set.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Beat the heat with Coolers



The best way to beat the heat during summers is to keep oneself cool and hydrated by consuming a lot of beverages, fruit juices and drinks like lassi, nimbupaani, butter milk, etc.
Exposure to heat leads may cause health problems like dehydration, sun stroke and stomach upsets.

Coolers, are natural drinks prepared from thandephal or ‘cooling fruits’ that keep the body cool in the summer time.

Aam panna (made from raw mango pulp), watermelon juice and pomegeranate juices are known to be great coolers.

These juices protect our bodies from the scorching heat during summer and are effective natural remedies for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Peragi




Wishing everyone a Happy Holi. Play a healthy, safe and colourful Holi.

Peragi is fried pastry filled with a khoya & nuts mixture and soaked in sugar syrup. Though its traditional and a must have treat during festivals like Holi / Diwali it can be prepared at home any time.

Here is the recipe for Peragi. The method of preparing the sugar syrup, kneading dough and stuffing is almost same like lobongo lotika. Only difference is in the style of folding and sealing the peragi.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gms (2 cups) plain flour (maida)
  • 500 gms (4 cups) mawa / khoya kheer
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 100 gms (1 cup) sugar
  • 100 ml (1 cup) water (as required)
  • 2 tbsp white oil / ghee (for kneading dough)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 3 tbsp raisins (kishmish)
  • ½ cup (100 gms) chopped almonds
  • white oil, for frying

Sugar Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 4-5 green cardamom (chhoti elaichi)

Procedure:

Preparing sygar syrup:

  1. To make the hot sugar syrup, take a deep pan, mix the 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water. (ratio is 1 part of sugar to 2 parts of water) and bring to a boil.
  2. Add 4-5 cardamom pods (crushed).
  3. Mix with a spoon until all the sugar is dissolved in water. (Do not overheat, or else sugar will get caramelized / hard).
  4. Boil the syrup and then simmer to reduce the water by half. Keep aside.

Mawa / Khoya Kheer Filling / Stuffing:

  1. Crumple the khoya kheer / mawa with hand.
  2. Take a heavy bottomed non-stick pan, add the crumpled khoya kheer / mawa, add nutmeg powder & cardamom powder and raisins and stir on low flame for 3-4 mins.
  3. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.

Preparing the dough:

  1. Take a bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Add 1 tsp white oil and boiling water.
  2. Mix well and knead to form a soft dough (but not too loose). Keep aside covered for 30 mins.
  3. Divide the dough into small round balls.
  4. Take a rolling board and roll out one ball into round thin pancakes (like puri / luchi, only slightly bigger and thicker).
  5. Put 1 tsp of the khoya kheer / mawa filling in the center of the rolled out pancake.
  6. Dip a finger in water and lightly coat the edges of the pancake.
  7. Fold the puri in half, lightly press the edges together with fingers and make small & neat pleats and seal the edges carefully (so that it forms a half moon shape).

Frying:

  1. Heat oil in deep bottomed kadhai / pan. Lower the flame.
  2. Slowly release the prepared peragi (one or two at a time) to oil and fry on slow heat.
  3. Deep fry in a frying pan until golden brown (evenly fried on all sides). Flip to other side and fry till even light brown.
  4. Remove peragi from oil and drain the excess oil by keeping the peragi on a paper towel / tissue paper.

Coating in sugar syrup:

  1. Dip the fried peragis in the warm sugar syrup, ensure even coating on all sides (Use a strainer).
  2. Immediately remove from sugar syrup and refrigerate.
  3. Serve cold / warm as per taste.

Thandai




Thandai is a popular cold drink prepared with a mixture of almonds, fennel seeds, magaztari seeds, rose petals, black peppercorns, poppy seeds, cardamom, saffron, milk and sugar. It is sometimes mixed with 'bhang' to make an intoxicating drink and often associated with the Holi festival.

Ingredients:
  • 1 - ½ ltr water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp almonds
  • 1 tbsp watermelon seeds (tarbuj seeds), skinned
  • ½ tbsp poppy seeds (khus khus / posto)
  • ½ tbsp aniseed (saunf / mouri)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder (or seeds of 2 black cardamoms, crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp rosewater
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns, crushed
  • 1/4 cup dried / fresh rose petals
  • ½ tsp bhang (optional)
Procedure:
  1. Take a pan and soak sugar in ½ ltr of water. Stir till all the sugar is dissolved in water. Strain to obtain the sugar syrup and keep aside.
  2. Wash and clean all the dry ingredients. Soak in 2 cups of water. Keep aside.
  3. Allow all the soaked items to stand for about 2 hours.
  4. Take a blender / mixie and grind all soaked ingredients to a very fine paste. Add 1 cup water to the paste.
  5. Strain the paste through a strainer / muslin cloth and collect the extracted liquid in a bowl.
  6. Add remaining water to the extract, press and try to extract more liquid. \
  7. Repeat the process for 2-3 times till the residue (on the strainer / inside the muslin cloth) becomes dry and it is impossible to collect more liquid.
  8. Add milk, sugar syrup and rosewater to the extracted liquid.
  9. Add cardamom powder / crushed cardamom and mix well.
  10. Crush the buds and leaves of Cannabis (bhang, optional) and mix in the thandai.
  11. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Serve chilled with ice cubes in tall glasses.

Holi Celebration and Recipes


Holi also called the Festival of Colours, is a popular Hindu spring festival celebrated mainly in India and also globally.
Holi is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March.
Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (death of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi).
On the main day, people celebrate Holi by throwing coloured powder (gulal / abir) and coloured water at each other.

This year, Holi will be celebrated on 11th March 2009 and Holika Dahan is on 10th March 2009.

In West Bengal, Holi is known as Doljatra / Dol Purnima or Boshonto Utsav (as celebrated in Shantiniketan) and celebrated with great festivity and joy.

In Shantiniketan (the abode of Rabindranath Tagore), “Basanta Utsav (spring festival)” is celebrated in a unique way. People welcome the season 'Basanta' with music and dance.
Bengalis celebrate Holi as Dol Yatra or the swing / jhula festival where the icons of Krishna and Radha are placed on swings and women sing devotional songs, perform dances and throw gulal / abir on the deities.

Traditional delicacies (specially sweets) are prepared in advance and served while playing Dol Purnima. People visit each others houses and savor these delicious dishes like Malpoa, Rosogolla, Gulab Jamun and Peragi / Gujjia to name a few.

Sometimes to add to the festivity & fun, revelers make Thandai (a flavoured milk sometimes prepared with an intoxicant called bhang).

Aloo Dum



Aloo dum is a very simple recipe for potatoes cooked with Indian spices for plenty of flavor. There are several different variations of cooking aloo dum like kashmiri aloo dum, stuffed aloo dum and even pure vegetarian aloo dum.

This is the recipe for pure vegetarian aloo dum (for those who do not take onions in their food items).

Ingredients:

  • 500 gms small potatoes, (uniform size)
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste (grated ginger)
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste (grated garlic)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 - ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp red chili powder (to taste)
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 cup water (as required for gravy)
  • 2 bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped

Procedure:

  1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly, retain the skin and prick the potatoes with a fork.
  2. Take a pressure cooker, boil just enough water, add a pinch of salt and release the potatoes when the water starts to boil. Give one whistle only to cook the potatoes until just tender. (otherwise potatoes will turn too mushy).
  3. Drain the water and peel the outer skin of the boiled potatoes. Keep aside.
  4. Take a kadhai, heat oil. Lower the flame, add sugar and let it caramelize (But not too dark otherwise the whole dish will have a burnt taste).
  5. Add the bay leaf and the whole spices (cinnamon stick, cardamoms & cloves).
  6. Add the ginger & garlic paste and turmeric powder and stir fry.
  7. Add the coriander & cumin powder. Stir fry.
  8. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and red chilli powder and mix well with the fried spices. Add a little water if you want gravy.
  9. Release the potatoes in the kadhai, mix well and cook on high flame till all the spices are uniformly coated.
  10. Lower the flame and cook for 5-7 mins (till the potatoes are cooked). Check the gravy as required.
  11. Just before removing add ghee & garam masala powder and mix well.
  12. Transfer to a serving bowl / plate. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with puri (luchi) / parantha.

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