Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Warm Apple Bites

We had one apple staring at us from the fruit basket and I had no appetite and hubby isn't a big fan of them apples. So, what to do? Decided to try my hand at an apple turnover type thing. Was looking on Open Source Food for hours at recipes to try out in my Mom's old tiny oven.
(This thing must be over 15 years old - my grandmother pulled it out of storage and gave it to me and I am still shocked it lights up!)

Anyway, after a lot of yummy recipes, came across one that was easy and simple enough to try out. I love apple pie and this seemed very similar. But alas, I still have to figure out how Mom's old oven works! I put it in to bake and it just wasn't working - so regrettably the lil pies were deep fried. It wasn't too much of a disaster - name one deep fried food that you haven't liked - go ahead! The bites came out delish! Crunchy on the outside and sweet and gooey apple bites inside. Hubby gave his approval of - "not just good, its Great!" - Okay, so I added the capital G and the exclamation ;)

Excuse the poor quality of pictures - had really bad lighting and was just too tired (I made them at 11pm!)

Here is how I made 2 Warm Apple Bites:

















Ingredients

1 apple - diced
4-5 cloves - crushed
1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp. of clarified butter (knob of regular butter is fine)
1 egg
2 drops of vanilla essence
oil to deep fry
2 pcs of white bread

1. Peel and dice 1 apple. Small bite size chunks are fine.

2. Warm a pan on low heat. Add butter and melt. Add cloves, cinnamon, sugar, honey and apple. Stir and cook till apples are between firm and soft. Think apples from apple pie. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. Take 2 pcs of bread and cut of crusts. Use a rolling pin to flatten each out thin. Split the apple in half and spoon on side of each piece of bread. Fold over each to make two pies. Use egg wash to seal edges. (I added a bit of sugar and vanilla to eggwash).

4. At this point you can put it in the oven and bake. But-I ended up dipping the two pies in the egg like French toast and putting it into the oil to deep fry.

Let it cool and enjoy! Would be great with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Break...

It's been about 20 days since I have even sat in front of the computer. Hundreds of emails greeted me when I signed on - luckily most were junk mail! I have been on a 20 day hiatus for good reason! My mother and sister-in laws are visiting with two little cutest ever niece and nephew to complete the package. I am spending every spare moment with then since this is a a very rare visit and goodness - the kids grow up so fast! I don't want to miss a minute!! It has become very noisy all of a sudden - not just from the constant chatter and running around - the banging and slopping is from the carpenters building new kitchen cabinets (I had none before so Ma-in-law is gifting) and newly painted walls (a gift from sis-in-law since we both love color on our walls!) So today is the first day of rest-rather forced rest since my living room is occupied by the carpenters hurrying to finish the cabinets in the next two days. So, I am jammed in my bedroom with internet to keep me company!

As far as cooking - this is my food blog after all- I have done very very little. No - we don't go hungry! My maid cum cook has been handling a lot of it. (No, I am not extravagantly wealthy, it is the norm in South Asia to have some sort of hired helping hand.) Ma dearest and Sis dearest all chip in especially for breakfast since I am notorious for Not being an early riser.

So please bare with me as I take a little break - they are here till Jan. but I am sure I will write before then. Hopefully have food pics and recipes or more adventurous pics to share since we will be taking a trip to St. Martin's Island sometime in the next 2 weeks!

Here are some pics from Sis's extravagant meal she whipped up for all the Chachis (aunts not Happy Days' Chachi!!)


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seasame Poppy Cauliflower

Hubby and I love cauliflower but was tired of the usual ways of making. A curry or steaming just didn't seem appetizing tonight. I wanted to experiment a little bit using ingredients that I usually don't. I have become a little timid with experimenting since sometimes I tend to over do it or under do it -leaving the food with too much to the point of bitterness or not enough that it is so plain with no difference from natural taste. Last few days I really didn't want to make much using the usual Indian spices of turmeric, cumin, coriander, etc...so tonight I went with Sesame & Poppy. Here is the recipe:



Sesame Poppy Cauliflower

Cauliflower: steamed but still firm: 2 cups of small florets
Sesame: 1 tsp.
Poppy seed: 1 tsp.
Onion: 1/2 a small red, sliced thin
Garlic: 2 cloves, crushed
Salt to taste
Oil: 1-2 tbsp.

Steam the cauliflower till just cooked. Heat a pan with oil, add the sesame and poppy. It will splutter so be careful! Roast few seconds. It will toast light brown very quickly. Add the onion and garlic and sautee. Add the cauliflower and toss till it gets caramelized. I added a pinch of sugar to it. Toss around. taste test and serve! Best eaten warm.

Enjoy with some Kichuri - a rice and lentil dish eaten especially on a rainy day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sweet Milky Bread

Hubby and I both have a major sweet tooth! After dinner we must must, nay, he must! have something sweet. Usually he just takes a piece of bread and lathers on some Nocilla (like Nutella, a hazelnut-chocolate spread) and devours it. Last night he was about to the same. He sat down with the bread box and the bottle of Nocilla and I couldn't bare to watch. But what to make in 10 mins? Well, if you have sugar, milk, bread, eggs and flour - anything is possible! I had made some doughnuts a few days back (they were more deep fried cakes!) and I knew that would take a while.

So, he requested Shahi Tukra.

Shahi is usually term used in the South Asian cuisine for anything cooked with milk or yogurt - it connotates richness. Tukra means - pieces. In the old days, milk was reduced to a rich creamy state, hence the name. Today's milk loses so much in the processing that it can hardly be boiled down to a thick cream.

I remember as a child we used to get fresh milk straight from the cow and when it was boiled to purify, it formed a thick layer of cream (we called it shor). We would eat the shor just with some sugar - but it was usually preserved for the special baby of the home - so when little brother was old enough - I no longer got the shor, same with hubby, when his little sister was old enough and then his cousin brothers - he never got that thick layer of delicious cream. *sigh*

So, back to last night. What he wanted was bread in sweetened milk. I have made it several times and by no means is it healthy but - dang - it taste good!!!

Sweet Milky Bread

Bread: about 3-4 slices
Milk: 1 cup
Sweetened Condensed Milk: 2-3 tbsp.
Cardamom Whole: 2
Cinnamon: 1 inch
Nutmeg: garnish
Pistachios or almonds or raisins

1. Heat the milk. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer. Add the cardamom, cinnamon and stir in the condensed milk. Let it simmer for about 10 mins or so. You can do it till its thickened, especially if it full cream milk but, not necessary.

2. Have a deep dish ready or a bowl, tear the bread into big chunks and layer it. If you want to make it look pretty, cut into triangles and lay it out neatly overlapping.

3. Check for desired sweetness - add honey or sugar if needs to be sweeter. Pour slowly over the bread. Garnish with nutmeg shavings or swirl some honey on top or spread out raisins or nuts.

Let it cool and enjoy!

*Tip: this is a very versatile dish, you can do anything you want with it! Powder milk can be used. If you don't want condensed milk - palm sugar, jaggery, brown sugar, honey - any natural sweetener can be substituted. Saffron can be used in the milk for a sophisticated taste or Vanilla. If eggs mixed in the milk then perhaps can be baked even? (don't know abt that one - have to test t out).

Easy Simple Tilapia



Hubby has been requesting food that is 'different'. Haven't cooked in a while and the maid cooks with so much spices, so I understand. But what to make? I have been in such a slump that even if I cook anything, it tastes like I feel! He had bought a whole bunch of fish - Tilapia and Hilsa. Decided to cook the Tilapia. After a quick surf on the net for a simple recipe, came up with an easy pan fry dish with veggies and side sauces. He enjoyed it and it certainly was different from our regular menu especially because there was almost no spices at all! So, without writing anymore, here is the recipe along with the side dishes. There are quite a few, but hope you try them out :)

Pan Fried Tilapia

Tilapia: 1 med. size
Whole coriander seeds: 1 tsp.
Lime juice: 4 tsp.
Onion: 1 small thinly sliced
Garlic: 2 cloves, chopped
Green serrano chili: split in half
Little flour
Salt and black pepper to taste
Oil

1. Clean the fish and gut it. Score the skin with diagonal cuts to help the marination.

2. Marinate the fish in salt, pepper, coriander seeds (I pushed it through the slits) and lime juice. About 20-25 mins.

3. Pat dry. Cover fish lightly wth flour - will make it crispy and give a nice color.

4. Heat oil till smoky add the onion, garlic and chili to flavor the oil then place the fish. Should take about 5-6 mins to cook. About 2-3 mins on each side.

*Tip: The coriander seeds can be lightly dry roasted before adding to the fish, that way the natural oils and flavors come out or grind it after lightly dry roasting and then marinating the fish with it.

The fish has a very mild fresh flavor so it was tastier with these sides...

Garlicky Lime Butter

Lime zest: 1 med lime
Onion: thinly sliced, 1 tbsp.
Garlic: 4 cloves, pan roasted
Green chili: chopped
Butter (unsalted): 4-5 tbsp.

Bring butter to room temperature and mix all together. Spread on fish right off the stove. Its delicious!

Parmesan Sauce

Mayonnaise: 2-4 tbsp.
Parmesan cheese: 2-3 tsp.
Black pepper: to taste
Lime juice: 2-3 tsp.

Mix all together, taste along the way to suit your taste buds. I had to add lime juice little by little because the Parmesan was overpowering. Hubby loved this sauce and ate the fish and veggies with it! Its great for just a salad or plain dip for chips or carrots snacks.




Tomato Relish

Tomatoes: 2 med, chopped
Onion: 1/2 med, sliced/shopped
Fresh coriander leaves: 1 tsp. chopped
Green chili: 1 chopped
Lime juice: 3-4 tbsp.
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Just mix then all together and its a great side salad or relish!

Cauliflower & Peas

Cauliflower: 1 med. head
Peas: 1 cup
Onion: 1 med, chopped
Garlic: 2-3 cloves, chopped
Fenugreek: 1/2 tsp.
Oil
Water
Salt to taste

Steam the cauliflower and peas till cooked but still crunchy and firm. I add salt to the water while it steams. Heat a little oil, about 1-2tbsp., add the onion, garlic and fenugreek and sautée till onions transparent. Add the veggies and lightly toss, add salt if needed. Take of stove and serve!

All this with an accompaniment of Rice and Daal! It was light dinner but healthy and satisfying. Oh, there was a dessert too, thats coming soon....





Monday, October 27, 2008

Procastination

Last couple of weeks have been very dull and uneventful. I have not done much cooking (downside of having a "bua" that comes in once a day to cook and clean) nor much of anything else except being a complete bum. Anything that I did cook came out terrible and would rather forget about it then write it down. Could be attributed to my looming bad mood. If everything is connected - spiritually - then if I am in bad mood, my food will taste bad.

Anyways, I am hoping to do some research on spices and its medicinal uses. My hubby and I both dislike taking pills for everyday illness - like common colds, flu, indigestions, etc. and I know all these Indian spices have their individual uses in different ailments. So would like to study it and will share here.

Besides that, we are having Tilapia for dinner tonight, so if all turns out well, maybe a new recipe and pics for tomorrow.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Garam Masala Mix

This is a wonderful and fragrant spice to have handy. It can be used in meat, snacks, potatoes, soups and lots of other dishes. It is a great marinade as well.

Garam Masala in a Recipe


Now that I think about it - these spices could be used in spicy desserts like spice muffins, pies or cake! It is very versatile in use and is a definite staple in a South Asian kitchen.




Not to mention the beautiful aroma that will fill your kitchen when you are dry roasting them!

This isn't the end all be all of a recipe! It's a recipe that I use most often in my kitchen. Other spices can be added or substituted. Different types of cumin, bay leaf, dry ginger, nigella...the choices are endless!




Garam Masala

Begin with whole spices. Careful when dry roasting, you just want the natural oils to exude, over roasting can scorch and make it bitter...let your senses, *ahem*...nose...guide you :)

Coriander Seeds - 4 tbsp.
Cumin - 2 tbsp.
Black pepper - 1 tbsp.
Nutmeg - 1
Cinnamon - 3 pcs of 2 cm each
Cardamom - 3 tbsp.
Clove 1 tsp.

1. Except for nutmeg, gently dry roast all of the spices. Make sure it's on a gentle heat and be patient, go slow so it roasts inside.

2. Take off heat and let it cool.

3. After cooling, take the seeds out of the cardamom and grind the seeds with the other spices.
A coffee grinder can be used, make sure it is clean and dry.

3. Grate the nutmeg and mix with the spices. Store in a dry air tight jar.

Its best used right away. It will keep for few months but will become less fragrant and may change in texture and form.



Garam Masala on Wiki

Garam masala, whose literal meaning is 'hot spice' (in the meaning of high temperature as opposed to spiciness), is a basic blend of ground spices to be used alone or with other seasonings. It is common in the Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani cuisines.

There are many variants and each one is formulated for a specific purpose. There are numerous ways in which Garam Masala is prepared in different regions of India. There is no way of determining which of them are more authentic than others.

Some recipes blend spices with herbs. Yet others grind the spices with water, vinegar or other liquids, such as coconut milk, to make a paste. In some recipes nuts, onion or garlic may be added. The flavours may be carefully blended to achieve a balanced effect, or in some cases a single flavour may be emphasized for special dishes where this is desired. Usually a masala is cooked before use to release its flavours and aromas.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Coconut Goat Curry

Here you go...yet another coconut recipe! Ok, I have a few whole coconuts and have to use them up. This evening, a fresh one was broken and the water was immediately finished off by the hubby. The flesh - half in the curry the other half as dessert! I am not a big fan of goat meat but last week, my mother sent over almost 4 kgs of goat meat from my nephews naming ceremony event. I used a little bit of it to make haleem - a lentil based thick soup- and about 1 kg of it today to make this delicious curry. I think this is the first time I found goat meat appetizing so I had to share this recipe. It is so simple! Its from by Bengali cooking bible - Ranna, Khado, Pusti (loosely translated - Cook, Food and Nutrition) by the guru of Bengali cooking Siddiqua Kabir. My cook is really well versed in lots of different types of cooking and even she was surprised how tasty this came out, and glad to add a new recipe to her collection. Best of all the meat was so moist that I was couldn't stop popping little morsels!

Sadly, pictures of curry doesn't come out so good -or rather I am not a good enough food stylist yet to make it look delicious as it tastes!

Coconut Goat Curry
Ingredients

Goat Meat - 1 1/2 kg
(it can be on the bone and washed well and cut into desired size)
Coconut shavings - 1 1/2 cup
Onion paste - 1/2 cup
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp.
Garlic paste - 2 tsp.
Garam masala, ground- 1/2 tsp.
Green chili paste - 1 tbsp. (or desired hotness)
Fresh coriander paste - 1 tbsp.
Oil - 1 1/4 cup

1) Except for the oil - mix all other ingredients together well, cover and marinate for about an hour.

2) After marination - heat oil in a shallow pot, add all of the mix with the marinade. Stir well and cover. Cook on medium heat.

3) When oil skims the surface, the curry is ready. Taste test to see if the meat is tender, if not, leave on low heat and keep lid tightly closed. Turn off before it starts burning in bottom but keep closed lid (called 'dum') till ready to serve.

The longer its inside "dum" the more moist the meat will be.


I served this with rice - the usual staple carb in our home but I had whole wheat rotis. The roti is a little different. Yesterday I had attempted to make whole wheat donuts but it was a bust - but the dough was pretty good and decided to make it into rotis today and it was such a great compliment to the goat curry! If I had a restaurant, this could be perfect meal - doughut roti, goat curry and daal with a side of chutney and chili :)

Roti Recipe
I just eyeballed the recipe for this, so this really for advanced cooks. The amounts here are approximations.

Ingredients


Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
Egg, whipped - 1 egg
Sugar
Milk
Butter, melted - 1 tbsp.
Baking powder- 1 tsp.
Salt - a pinch
Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp.
Mace - 1/4 tsp.

1) Mix all wet ingredients together, mix all dry ingredients separately.

2) Slowly mix the wet into dry little bit at a time. Form a soft dough. Use more flour if the dough is too sticky.

3) Cover and refrigerate for about 1/2 an hour. Dough keeps well in fridge for couple days, probably could freeze it too.

4) When ready, roll out on flat surface with rolling pin into circles.

5) Heat a flat pan. Place the roti down, turn after 30 sec. Let other side cook and flip till its cooked through, Shouldn't take more than a 1-1.5 mins each.

Enjoy!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Oranges, oranges, oranges...












Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pumpkin in Coconut Curry


Ok, once again a demo of how much I love coconut and coconut curries! 'Tis the season of pumpkins and this dish is just so hearty and delicious in a cool night. I had been thinking of something different to do with pumpkin and after watching an episode on Sri Lankan cooking on Food Safari, I was inspired to concoct this curry. I really don't have a taste for curry leaf which is an essential ingredient for south Indian and Sri Lankan cooking so, it has been conveniently omitted. It is also a versatile dish and can be left up to your imagination to try things out. Its an extensive list and may look complicated --but I promise you that it took me only 5 mins to put together...well, I have a lot of spices on my shelf and within easy reach and kind of just threw things in that I felt went well together! So here it is...

I apologize for not having a lot of measurements, I tend to just eyeball and guesstimate when cooking, so this recipe can be for advanced cooks or adventurous new cooks!

Step 1

oil - to sautee
onion
garlic-minced
ginger-minced
dry red chilis-2 whole
nigella-a pinch
coriander seeds-a pinch
cinnamon-1 inch
bay leaf-1 large leaf
cardamom-3-4 crushed pods
mustard seeds-1 tsp.

Step 2

coconut milk-1/2 a can (depends on how much pimpkin and how much curry u want)
cumin powder-1/2 tsp
coriander powder-1/2 tsp
chili powder-depends on how hot u like it
turmeric powder-1/2 tsp.
pumpkin-2 cups peeled & diced bite size
salt-to taste

Step 3

short grain rice-1 tbsp.
fresh grated coconut-2 tbsp.
whole cumin-1 tsp.

1. Heat oil in a wok or pot and start with red chili, bay leaf, cinnamon and slowly add the onions and the rest from Step 1. Sautee till onions a transparent. The mustard seeds will splutter so be careful and also careful not to burn them, add as one of the last ingredients.

2. Mix all from Step 2 together in a bowl and add into the pan with the onions-with the pumpkin. Add water to boil the pumpkin. I added about 1 can full but depends how much curry you want. Add salt to taste.

3. While pumpkin is boiling, in a dry pan roast the rice & coconut till a nutty brown color, add in cumin seeds and roast for 1 min till fragrant. Grind to a powder, its a delicious nutty fragrance!

4. Add the rice powder mix to the curry to thicken it up. Check the salt and you could add sprinkle of sugar to sweeten a little bit. It really brightens the flavor. Taste test. You can squeeze a little bit of lime when serving for an extra bit of tang.

I served it up with a side of friend mashed prawns and fluffy coconut rice with some green chili for extra spice. The left overs were great the next day for breakfast with some fresh rotis!



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Purple Chili!?!

Eid was a few days ago...EID MUBARAK to all...Cal and I spent it with my mother. We woke up early and drove to my grandfather's village, Gokarna. I haven't been there in a couple of years so I wa slooking forward. Sadly, since no one lives there any more, the place is looking pretty run down. But by the main house there were two beautiful chili plants! One was a small light green variety and the other was a surprising purple chilis! I had never seen them but when they ripen up, they turn a bright reddish orange color. Here are a few pics of them...


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Gokarna: a trip to my grandfather's village


Eid is a great time in the city...its the only time of the year that it is completely traffic free! Well, thats not the only reason its great :) The city lights up like Xmas, everyone is in a festive spirit with new clothes and lots and lots of food! Visiting friends and neighbors and eating yummy meals...its wonderful. This year my mother was in Dhaka so we decided to a take drive to my grandfather's village, Gokarna. Its about 2 hours drive out of Dhaka and so beautiful and green! I couldn't take a lot of pictures on the drive...motion sickness...but here are a few pics of the compound.

Here the boys all prep to go to the morning prayers...












Coconut Nut Barfi - Sweet Coconut Balls

I have a thing for coconuts. I saw this on Food Safari the other day and thought it was THE most simplest, easiest, quickest and yummiest dessert! Hubby just pops one in his mouth every time he passes the fridge. Make 'em and you will see!

The ingredients are simple and adjustable too. If you don't want to use condensed milk - just use milk and sugar (jaggery, palm sugar, brown sugar). just a reminder - different sugars will give it different tastes, which in itself is a fun idea to roll around with! Make sure to fry it up in the pan so it all congeals and cooks together.

The use of fresh coconuts is advisable, but if not possible - most specialty stores sell them in packages so experiment a little. I broke the coconut myself and scraped it by hand -- owwww! its hard and tiring so i don't recommend it to anyone! But if you have gadgets to help ya out - go for it! Nothing in the world like fresh coconut!!

If you try this out - let me know how they turn out...


Coconut Barfi

2 cups fresh ground coconut
1 cup condensed milk
ground pistachios
ground cashews
ground elachi (try fresh next time)

(maybe cinnamon too?)
enough for strong flavor

Mix well all together, cook on pan with little bit of ghee (butter) and 2 tbsp of suji (semolina), till dry. Let it cool. Roll small portions into round balls and roll through fresh coconut.

Keep cool - it will firm up after few hours.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Review: SURA, a Korean resturant in Dhaka, Bangladesh

I am starting a new section, a Review section! Since being in Dhaka, Cal and I go out to eat almost once a week and of course our palates are always in need of something new and different...so we cover a lot of restaurants in Dhaka! My mother-in-law gifted us a digi cam for our 1st anniversary, an interesting choice since Cal detests taking pics and dislikes the idea of a cam - but wouldn't ya know it his reaction to the cam was - "wow! exactly what we need!" I am still learning a lot about my hubby :)

So, to inaugurate the camera and celebrate our 1st anniversary (this was back in July) we had gone to a Korean restaurant. It was fantastic!! The decor was simple and elegant, the service fluid and attentive, the food timely and delicious! Anyone visiting Dhaka, Highly recommend a meal at SURA!!

It was on a whim we ended up here after a disastrous day of plans falling through. Premu, Cal's cuz, joined us so that we could end the day without a another blunder! It is in Gulshan, a posher part of town where most are expats or diplomats, a part of town with finer comforts. It was large establishment with large parking lot and polite guards. The area was clean as can be. We were greeted warmly upon entering by an elderly Korean woman and a pleasant waiter showed us to our table.

The decor was warm and sparse, very clean and very big. There were knooks for guests that require a bit of privacy, otherwise large wooden tables are spread out throughout the floor. The waiter greets and introduces himself, hands the menu and leaves us be. No hovering!

Every table is accompanied with traditional Korean condiments of pickles which includes Kimchi (my absolute fav!), pickled cucumbers, radishes and sprouts salad. When we were ready to order, the waiter was helpful and knowledgeable which was great. We started with an Seafood Pajun, a pancake, as an appetizer which was perfect. It was not stingy on the seafood! There were three of us and we couldn't finish the portions.

Cal is the expert on Korean food among us so we let him order. He ordered a Bulgogi, a stir fried marinated beef BB which was cook fresh on the table! A Bibimbab and a seafood dish which was just overkill! Needless to say we had plenty leftover for the next day.

What was amazing was the service, they brought in the food one at a time, keeping an eye on our eating pace. I have had Korean food in NY and this kitchen is above comparison! Can't wait to go back!!

PS: the bathroom was spotless and spacious!!



SURA
Add: Gulshan 2, House 2, Road 90
PH: 8821043, 0173038425

Excerpt from: Imhungrybd.com (they have a menu online!)
One of Dhaka’s pioneers in the restaurant business has struck again. Mrs. Park is no stranger to the restaurant scene and Sura is testament to that. There are plenty of private rooms for those who want a more intimate dining experience. The decor is simple and subtle, yet still able to flaunt detailed Korean art. The food is truly exceptional. Dhaka continues to have a myriad of restaurants but Sura was undoubtedly needed.

Homemade Donuts!


Cal hasn't been well for past week or so and has had practically no appetite :( This evening he actually asked for something to eat - but something sweet. Initial request was a banana chocolate milkshake, so he went downstairs to get milk and bananas. Meanwhile I was thumbing through a cookbook (Ranna Khado Pusti by Siddiqa Kabir)to figure out a menu for Eid and stumbled on a recipe for homemade donuts! I love this cookbook - no wonder my mother and my mother's mother swore by it! I had made them mini and Cal gulped down a bowl full!! Here is the recipe, with my own tweaks of course:




Homemade Donuts

Eggs 2
Sugar 1/3 cup (adjust to your own sweetness, I will add more next time)
Milk 1/3 cup
Clarified butter or Melted butter 1/3 cup (equal to milk)
Flour 1 1/2 cups
Baking Powder 2 tsp.
Salt 1/2 tsp
Oil to deep fry
Few drops of vanilla or any other flavor you prefer
Cinnamon powder or confectionery sugar or melted glaze or melted chocolate, etc. - you gt the idea, anything to top the donuts with!

1) Whip the eggs and sugar together, mix in milk and butter.

2) Mix the flour, salt and baking powder, add the egg mix and form into a sift dough. Leave in refrigerator for 15mins.

3) After 30 mins, spread the dough and roll out thick. Cut into donuts (I used a small bowl to make mini size and a small bottle cap to cut the middle holes out). Set aside for about 10mins.

4) Heat the oil, drop a 'tester' to check temp. It should make a golden brown color, if it becomes a chocolatey color, lower the heat and cool the oil a bit. Flip it to make it evenly colored.

Place them on a paper towel to dry off excess oil, sprinkle with toppings! Enjoy!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Savory Liver Curry with Yellow Lentil and Rice


I happen to really enjoy the taste of well prepared liver! When my mother makes her chicken curry she always leaves the liver and gizzards and I am always the one to savor it! My aunt used to make liver curry on rare days and I still remember just eating so slowly making it last. I haven't had much of an opportunity to cook liver in the States but here in Dhaka, where there are streets of butchers, a whole liver is easily picked up in any corner. This recipe, however is not mine - its my cook, Alom's concoction. Its delicious, especially with some nice thick lentil curry and white rice with freshly squeezed lime on top! Its just...well, you give it a shot and let me know! Just to Note-Alom does not cook with specific measurements, just eyeballs the ingredients and feels his way through. So, the proportions may not be exact - he just says - 1/2tsp of all spices - but with any good cook - one should experiment with the flavors and settle on what amount of spices are right for your palate!

Ingredients

1/2 kg of liver from beef cut into bite size pcs.
Onion - 1 whole - half paste, half sliced thin
Garlic - 1 tsp paste - 2-3 cloves sliced/chopped
Ginger - 1 tsp paste
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp powder
Chili - 1/2 tsp powder
Coriander - 1/2 tsp powder
Cumin - 1/2 tsp powder
Fennugreek - 1/2 tsp powder
Bay leaf - 1 dried
Salt & sugar to taste
Oil to fry

Instructions

1. Heat in a pan or pot or wok about 2-3 tbsp of oil, sautee up sliced garlic and onion till well done. About 2-3 mins.

2. Add in all the spices one by one. Start with the pastes (onion, garlic, ginger), then the bay leaf, lastly the powders. Add salt. Fry well, add a little bit of oil if too dried out and scorching or 2-3 tbsp of water.

3. Add the liver pcs and fry and mix well with the paste formed. When well mixed, add about 1-2 cups of water, depending on how much curry you want. More water for thinner curry, less for thicker.

4. Cook covered until livers are well done. Takes about 10-15mins. Taste check - add salt and little sugar if needed.

Serve with some Lentil and rice and Enjoy!

Tips: you can increase the cumin powder to 1tsp. for a bolder taste. Too much fenugreek may turn the curry bitter. Everything else can be adjusted to preference.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kochu Dal Curry (Colocasia Leaves & Lentil)

I haven't ever cooked "kochu pata" (colocasia leaves)., nor did I know what the looked like because they came bundled in rolls when I picked them at the store. All I knew was an old folklore that said something along the lines - ones who's throat itch after eating kochu pata must be a liar - the idea that these leaves itch your throat - never mind whether we tell lie or not - who among hasn't said a white lie now and then - the idea has always deterred me in any consumption of this vegetable! So, i don't know what promted me or inspired me to pick up these leaves - a man next to me just happed to pick up two bundles and I just happened to follow suite! Once I brought them home, I was struck with a dilemma - I had no idea how to prepare them! So, I called my ready source, my aunt and picked her brain. It sounded so yummy that I immediately set out to cook them...here begins my tiny adventure.

For a little bit of back ground on kochu or colcasia :

When I went to prepare the leaves, I first washed them, tore them into small pieces then put them boiling water. Within a few seconds on putting the water to boil, my hands started itching and burning uncontrollably!! It died away after few mins - i had put some anti-histamine just in case. Now, I started to worry what would be the effects if I actually consumed it! But, my aunt had told me to boil it before cooking, so it should be ok. I finished preparing the dish as she instructed and as soon I had a few mouthfuls - my throat started painful itching!! Almost having a hard time breathing!! But, that too died away with 15-20 mins. So, now I was on a mission to figure out why this occurred even after boiling.

Colocasia, in its raw form, has a presence of calcium oxalate. This chemical compound can be broken down by boiling the vegetable but it has to be a prolonged period - 1 hour - depending on size of leaves - the bigger the leaves - boiling time increases. Another trick I came upon - an important element my aunt had forgotten to mention - it can be equalized with citric acid! Meaning, while cooking add tamarind juice or lime juice or while eating squeeze a helluva lot of lime! And if your throat still itches - suck on some lime or lemon!

Thus is my tiny adventure of making this dish, I hope you won't be deterred, just apy extra attention to detail while cooking it!


Ingredients

1 bundle - about 2 small leaves
Lentils - 1 cup (masoor - orange whole or split)
Onion - 1 med chopped small
Garlic - 2-3 cloves finely chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Dry red chili - 2
Green chili - 1
Tamarind juice or lime/lemon - 1 tbsp. (approx.)
Oil to fry

How:

1. Wash the leaves carefully. Wear gloves or avoid direct contact in some way (i.e.: using tongs). Place them in appropriate pot of water - I used 6 cups of water. Boil for min. 1 hour.

2. Wash the lentils well. Soak the lentils in a bowl to soften to reduce cooking time.

3 . Once the leaves are ready, prepare the lentils. Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a pot/wok. Add the red chili and let roast few seconds, sautee the onion and garlic till 'mushy'.

4. Add the powder spices and salt, green chili, stir and mix well. Add a little bit of water and mix again.

5. Drain the lentils and add it to the spice mixture. Coat and fry well. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and let it cook uncovered. We want a thick mush.

6. Once the lentils ready, add the leaves and cook well, add the tamarind or lime/lemon juice.

7. Cook for few mins so all spices mix well, check salt and spicy-ness. If too much of anything - try adding a little bit of sugar.

Serve with rice or roti.

Traditional Gujrati Toor Daal

My dear friend, Mital, recently got married and left us all for Sunny California. Now that she has to cook for her keep, she has been trying out her mom's recipes. Turns out, her hubby loves daal (or dahl) and so dear Mital has to go on a quest to perfect her technique. She passed on her recipe to share. It sounds delicious and can't wait to visit her to try it out!

Thanks Mital!!

She uses a pressure cooker. Now, I have never used one except for the one time at my friend Niyati's place and it scared the beejeez out of me! So - I think an alternative would be to soak the lentils overnight to get them soft enough to cook without needing a pressure cooker. The steps involve - cooking/boiling the lentils, mixing the spices in on the stove once lentils cooked then final step of tempering (Vagar) which is done at the end and can be done right before serving.

Toor Dahl Recipe:

1) Place 1 cup toor dahl in 4 cups of water or 1&1/2 vadkis with 6
vadkis water in a steel bowl. Place in pressure cooker. Don't forget
to add water to the pressure cooker. :)

2) After 4 whistles or 7-10 minutes after your cooker starts to make a whooshing sound, turn off the cooker and contents settle for about 10 minutes or when you feel comfortable taking off the lid.

3) Take out the pot containing the steamed dahl and transfer to a
bigger pot. Add 3 cups of water (eyeball this - this step depends on
how thin or thick you like it). I only put in 2 cups..and it came out
thick in the end but that's how sundeep likes it.

4) Once you add the water, use a hand blender to mush it all together
until smooth..if you skip this step, i think you end up getting
"punjabi dahl" so you see the lentils more visually..

Now comes the masala that you add to this pot of mushed lentils:

12 pieces of nimbru leaves (i didn't have these so i omitted them and
it still came out good)
3.5 tsp salt (I think I only put in 2, but you can always add later--
see I had only added 2 cups of water after so i decreased the salt)
1.5 tsp donna giru (coriander/cumin powder)
1/2 tsp red pepper (chile powder)
1/2 tsp pickle masala (the red methi masala)
1/2 tsp urdur powder (turmeric)
1 tsp garam masala
5 dates (soft) - I didn't have these so I omitted them
1/2 tsp ambli paste OR mango powder OR 2 capfuls of lemon juice
2.5 tbsp tomato paste
1 fresh tomato diced (I didn't have so i didnt' add)
1/4 cup guar or brown sugar (to your liking)
2-3 tbsp coriander leaves

Add all these ingredients and boil the dahl for ~40-45 minutes. Then
you are ready for the vagar.

Vagar Ingredients:
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 cloves
3 whole vagar red peppers
1/2 tsp methi seeds
3-4 nimbru leaves (i didn't have them so i omitted)
1/8 tsp hing (asafoetida powder) + tad bit of red pepper (chile
powder) on same spoon ( I don't know, my mom said when I had the hing,
make sure put a little bit of red pepper with it)

First put oil for the vagar (3-4 tbsp oil) in whatever little saucer
you use to vagar things ( i only had a vadki so i used that). let the
oil get warm. Then add in the following order:
- cloves
- whole red pepper
- methi seeds
- mustard seeds

When mustard seeds pop, add the nimbru leaves. Then add the hing+red
pepper. Cook for 2-3 seconds and put in the dahl right away. Continue
boiling the dahl for 5-10 minutes. And that's it. It can take upto 1 hour to make!
Can't believe my mom would make fresh dahl everyday..now she makes enough for 2-3 days..this makes a big pot of dahl. I don't know how to scale it down...

Dessert Wrap


I had a major sweet tooth on this day. Needed a sweetness blast!! So, i whipped this up and its so simple so very YUMMY! its unbelievable!!

Start with a tortilla (roti) and place on a warm flat frying pan/grill. On one side add the following: banana in small pieces, chocolate bits and Fluff or marshmallows. Fold the other side over and grill on both sides till its toasty and then take off the pan and DEVOUR it!!!

It SOOO hits the spot!!!

Cupcakes & Cheesecakes!



For my sister-in-laws baby shower in May I had made a cupcakes and cheesecakes - oh - they came out sooo yummy!! Lemon Cupcakes and Carrot Cake in cupcake form - with of course my personal tweaks in them! I had added FLUFF to the bater when it went in - gave it a lil something extra that was just plain fun! The cheesecake - made them extra thick and topped off with chocolate frosting and cut in bite size. Yum yum yum!!

( I cheated - they were all from boxed mixes from Betty crocker - but with an extra twist!! LOL)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chicken Coconut Curry

Lately, I love coconut milk based curries. We were having our neighbors over and I thought I would try a new recipe. This recipe came out so delicious!! I really should get in the habit of writing down exactly what I put in things when cooking - end up making so many substitutions that I can't ever seem to duplicate a recipe!!! So here is the recipe with my tweaks:

Boneless Chicken Coconut Curry

Marinade
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch dice
1 tsp. Turmeric powder
1 tsp. Coriander powder
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. Ginger paste
2 tsp. Garlic paste
1 tbsp. Onion paste
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. hoisin sauce
Salt - less depending on soy sauce

Cook
Oil to fry
1 dry bay leaf
1/2 in. of cinnamon stick
1 medium sized onion thinly sliced
1 cup canned unsweetened or fresh coconut milk
1 green bell pepper sliced thinly
1 wedge of lime/lemon
cilantro to garnish

1. Marinate the chicken in for at least half hour.

2. Pour little oil in pan/pot and sautee the onions, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Add the chicken strips only and sautee and until golden.

3. Add the coconut milk and reminding marinade into the pot with a little bit of water to make a thinner rich consistency of curry.

4. Simmer on med heat until chicken is well cooked, add the green peppers in the last few mins and sprinkle a little bit on lime/lemon on top and add some cilantro.

Serve with some warm rice and enjoy!

***Taste throughout the cooking process to adjust to your taste.
If no flavor picked up - add salt or soy sauce.
If too salty - add a little bit of honey or sugar.
Want a little more kick - add more red pepper or add a spicy green chili while cooking.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Heavenly Divine Breakfast




I am traveling in the states right now and woke up at my mothers craving a big breakfast. With the jet lag and lack of helping hand and the availability of an oven - i felt inspired to try out a recipe I had seen on Nigella Express. Before I get into this recipe - let me explain how lovely this breakfast easy. Its hearty but light and flavors just make a pleasant wake up call. This is a perfect Mother's breakfast if some you are so inclined. Ok here goes - my recipe - as usual is a bit tweaked from Nigella's....

Eggs with Tomato

Will need:
1 deep dish to hold ramekin
1 ramekin (small oven proof bowl/dish)
Butter
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. minced onions
1 tbsp. chopped tomatoes
1 slice of american white cheese (or any cheese you wish)
1 large egg
2 tbsp. cream or whole milk or any type of milk
salt and pepper for taste
a pinch of cayenne

1) Turn on oven and pre-heat to 350. Heat a skillet on stovetop and add about 1 tbsp. of butter. once it starts bubbling sautee the onions and garlic for about a minute or until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook till soft, add salt and pepper to taste. Don't let it melt or get mushy!

2) Boil some water. Prep the ramekins by spreading the sides with a little bit of butter.

3) Place the tomato mix bottom of ramekin. Layer lil bit of cheese, crack the egg on top (careful to not break the yolk!), add the cream/milk, add a little bit more cheese on top, add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.

4) Place the ramekin in the deep dish. Pout the boiling water into the dish and let it come up half way up the sides of the ramekin. Place the dish in the oven for about 8-12 mins.

5) Make sure to keep an eye on it - you want the yolk to be runny so, try not to over cook it. I overcooked mine first time around.

Pull it out of oven and enjoy with some crusty bread or buttered toast.

I made a concoction of tea and coffee to go with it. to get over the jet lag and becasue I don't like the flavor of coffee.

Boiling water
instant coffee
tea bag
2 cardamoms, pinch of cinnamon, 2 cloves
brown sugar
hazlenut flavored creamer

Just mix 'em all up in a big mug and enjoy!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Onion Beef Curry - Mangshoer DoPiaza

It is so hot here that we don't have an appetite for anything! Cooking feels like a chore and eating a tiring experience. I have trained our servant to read and cook so i can write up a recipe for him or hand him a bengali recipe and he can come up with a very delicious recipe. So, after racking my brain for a yummy meal that Cal and I would actually WANT to eat - I landed on this recipe. Served up with flaky parothas and cool cucumber yogurt - was very satisfying.

Please keep in mind to read this first then start cooking. South asian curries are all about patience and time. The flavors need time to really mix well for the delicious flavor to come out. So do the cooking in the steps and wait in between for few mins for the spices to blend well.

One tip for added flavor - marinade the beef for an hour or two in a paste of fresh garlic, ginger and onion with salt.

Ingredients

Beef: 2 pounds
Onion: 4 med to large (sliced)
Ginger: 1 inch (paste or cut small)
Garlic: 6 cloves
Dry red Chili: 6

Paste or powder: 2 Tsp. each
Turmeric
Chili powder
Coriander powder
Cumin powder

Ghee (clarified butter): 3 1/2 Oz.
Sugar: 2 Tbsp.
Dry bay leaf: 2 med. size
Salt: as per taste

1) Wash and cut beef in medium bite size pieces. Slice onions. Grind/paste together ginger, garlic and Dry red chili.

2) Heat the ghee in a pot. Add half the onions and sautee. Add beef and fry together for few mins. Add ginger, garlic, chili paste and stir and mix well.

3) Add the rest of the onions. Lightly stir and the spice powders and pastes of 2 tsps. each. Fry all and stir well. Cook few mins. Add sugar, salt and bay leaf.

4) Once it fries all together and sticks pastey add 7 oz. of water. Cook on med. high until the water dries or the oil rises to the top about 1/2 hour to 45 mins - depending on your meat and cooking temp. Check if meat is well cooked and tender. If not - add more water and cook longer.

5) Take off from stove, add some crispy fried onions on top and serve!

Enjoy!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fresh Mango Spicy salad

Green sour mangoes are in season and they make perfect additions to a curry, daal or on its own. The mangoes are a parrot green and white flesh and when u bite into it raw - it will pucker your mouth! I remember when I was a kid, there was a huge mango tree in front of our house. We could just pluck mangoes from our balcony and roof! Mmmmm... those were the lazy summer days. We wound eat the ripe ones right off the tree - but the younger "kaccha" ones we would slice then up and mix with some fresh f=green chilies, sugar and salt. Its delicious!!

Green mango
Slice them into thin strips. Mix with fresh green cili chopped up and mix with a little bit of salt and enough sugar to bring out natural flavor and not pucker your mouth.

Enjoy!!

hot Hot HOT!

It is just too Hot to be in the kitchen!! By the time I am over the stove - I am sweating like crazy and completely drenched by the time I am done! No central air. Can't put a fan in the kitchen cause it blows out the gas stove flame =( So - I apologize for not having any new recipes up right now!

I am looking for recipes that are cooler - like fruit salads, cold soups and fresh salads.

Mangoes are season as are watermelons and other sweet fruits!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry

I came across this chicken curry recipe in my search for a light summer afternoon meal. Its been tweaked a bit - when do I not! - and the result is a very delicious and hearty curry. So here goes - and try your own twist :)

Ingredients

Chicken (i used half a chicken cut up into smaller pieces)
Peanut Butter: 2 Tb sp.
Oyster sauce: 1 Tb sp.
Turmeric powder: 1/2 Tsp.
Chili powder: 1 Tsp.
Cumin powder: 1/2 Tsp.
Coriander powder: 1/2 Tsp.
Garam Masala: 1/2 Tsp.
Lime juice: 4 Tbsp. (increase as needed)
Soy sauce: 2 glugs
Oil to fry
Water

1) Wash and clean chicken and cut into pieces. Skinless.

2) in a bowl mix together peanut butter, oyster sauce, lime juice (leave a little for the end), 1 glug soy sauce, all the powders and garam masala. Add the chicken and mix well and massge in the marinade. Leave aside for about 1/2 hour.

3) Add some oil on a pan and heat. Add the chicken pieces one by one and fry for about 2 mins . We just want a nice seal.

4) Add water to left over marinade in the bowl. About 1 - 1 1/2 cups. Add another glug of soy sauce and mix all. Once the chiken is well fried on the outside, add this watery mix in and bring to a boil.

5) I taste tested the flavor and mine needed a little bit of sugar to cut the saltiness of the soy sauce. You can adjust accordingly. Leave on simmer till the oil rises to surface and chicken well cooked.

6) The curry will thicken a bit. At this point - add the remainder of the lime juice and let sit.

Serve with fluffy rice!

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

5 Spice - essential in Bengal kitchen...aka Panch phoron/Paach Puran


Paanch Phoron


This mix of 5 spice is a MUST HAVE for a Bengali kitchen! Its a flavor explosion when added to any dish at the end of the cooking process or to fry veggies and fish with. When these are tempered, it will fill you with a strong earthy and spicy aroma thats just beautiful. What exactly is in this fantastic spice mix?

It is a mix of 5 whole spices, usually consisting of the following. Substitutions are sometimes made based on region...

Jeera (Cumin): 2 tsp.
Kalojeera (Nigella): 1/2 tsp.
Methi (Fenugreek): 1 tsp.
Radhuni* (Ajwain): 2 tsp.
Sorshe (Mustard seeds): 1 tsp.
[Most popular and typically use Mouri (Fennel seed)]

Most recipes say to use equal portions of all but, this recipe of proportions is from the Bengali cookbook Khado, Ranna and Pusti by Siddiqua Kabir first published in 1978. So, thats what I am going by. The use of mustard seed in place of fennel is my personal choice, the book and typical Panch Phoron uses fennel. I don't really like the taste of fennel seeds in different foods so I use mustard instead.

I was working this post I wondered, that there must be some ancient wisdom at work as to why these particular 5 spices are put together. Whether medicinal value or religious or otherwise...so I have been asking around and doing some research online. So far, people around me don't seem to have the vaguest idea except to point out the traditional spices, perhaps I am just asking the wrong persons. I have found different medicinal uses for each spice, perhaps that's all there was to it!

Well, I am going to continue with the research of these very ancient of spices and its uses in Bengali cooking. The posts will be individual and a link back from this one. I am excited to do this research and bring to you a somewhat comprehensive understanding of the histories and uses of each of the spices.

For now, enjoy cooking with Paanch Phoron. It remains in whole form and tempered or as a Tadka.

**Heat a tsp. or 2 of oil (most typically mustard oil) and add a tsp. of Paanch Phoron. Gently roast it - be careful because it will splutter! About 30 seconds is enough to release the aromas and oils. This can be added in the end of cooking a daal or just throw in some potatoes with onions and stir fry.

I will be sure to link back with recipes as I post them :)

Dal - Masoor (Lentil Soup)


My sister in law asked for a dal recipe. In our house we eat Masoor dal - they are orange round lentils - are the most popular. I can't have a meal without them but with the rising prices of food and especially staples in Bangaldesh - Masoor dal is getting expensive =(


Anyway, there are many different ways to make the dal. Each family or individual has their own methods. Like in my kitchen - I cook it totally different than Alom, our personal manager cum cook. So, below is my version which my friend Niyati learned recently and enjoys quite a bit =) The key to this is the balance of turmeric and salt - so give it a shot and you will learn what amounts you prefer!

Ingredients

1 cup - Masoor dal
2 1/2 chopped - med. Garlic cloves
1 chopped - med. Onion
1 tsp. - Turmeric powder
1 split - Green chili
Cilantro for garnish
Salt to taste
2 tbsp. - Oil (adjust to your need)
about 3 cups of Water (adjust to your need)

Optional
1 chopped - Tomato
1 tsp. - Paach foron

1) Wash and soak the daal in water for about an hour or two.

2) Heat oil in a pot, add the onions then garlic. Fry them till the onions are about transparent.

3) Drain the water from the lentils. Add them to the pot, add the turmeric and salt - leave on med-high heat. Fry it in the oil mix for about a minute. Add the water.

4) Once the water starts to boil heavily, lower the heat, cover and let simmer for 15-20 mins. Check in once in a while and stir. Check for salt balance. The water evaporates, so of you want it very liquidy, add more water. I like mine a little thick so I leave it as is. Adjust per your need and taste.

5) Once you are satisfied with the consistency - you can do 1 of two things.

- Add the green chili and cilantro and serve -or -
- Do a tadka (see optional below).

Optional

Tadka: Heat another small pan with about 1-2 tsp. of oil. Add the paach foron. Once it starts to splutter add a tiny bit of onion and garlic. Once the onions are transparent - take a spoonful of the dal into the tadka. Then pour the whole tadka into the dal. Stir and mix well. Add green chili and cilantro and serve!

At about middle way through the cooking - like at 8 mins or so - if you want you can add chopped tomatoes or green mangoes. It gives it a sour tangy taste and a different consistency.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Tilapia in coconut milk - Royal Foodie Joust entry!

I entered this into the Royal Foodie Joust at The Leftover Queen forum. There are wonderful dishes over there so I am a little intimidated! Stop by and pic your fav. - don't forget to vote! My pic came out terrible and didn't do any justice to the taste. It was fun to make this dish and my husband loved it! I am making it again but with shrimp this time...


Tilapia in Coconut Milk

I used 1 fish - Tilapia fillets
1 tsp - Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp - Coriander powder

6 cloves - Garlic
1/2 tsp - Mustard seeds (coarsely ground)

1 - Dry red chili

handful - French beans
1/2 handful - Sprouts
4 tbsp - Elachi lime or reg lime juice

1/2 cup - Lite coconut milk
1/2 cup - Oil to fry

Salt to tatse

3-4 cups - Water

1) Wash filet and cut into 1 inch strips. Leave the skin on.


2) Marinate the filets in 2 tbsp of lime juice, lime zest, salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric. Mix well and set aside.


3) While the fish marinates, cut garlic into small pieces, clean french beans and cut off ends and coarsely grind whole yellow mustard seeds. ( I use the spice grinder on the blender, another option is a mortar pestle).

4) On a med-low fire, heat oil in a wok or any deep pan. Add the garlic and mustard. Cook it for 1-3 mins. Th mustard seeds will splutter, so be careful!

5) Turn up the heat to med-high and add the fillets. Add 1/2 tsp of turmeric and 1/2 tsp coriander powder. Gently stir to turn the fillets. Turn up the heat and add the water.

6) Add the french beans and sprouts. Take one whole dry chili and break it in half over the pan than drop the pieces in.


7) Add the coconut milk and salt to taste. Let it simmer on med-high for 3-4 mins. Taste test the curry for salt and flavor. Lastly squeeze a bit of lime juice on top and serve!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Foodie Blogroll

Being online and checking out so many blogs and finally starting a cooking blog of my own - I have taken the next step and become a part of the foodie world! This blog is listed on the Foddie Blogroll - a community of food lovers and cooks. Its a such a wonderful experience to be able to interact with other food lovers! Want to give out a special thanks and an "awesome job" award to Jenn aka The Leftover Queen who initiated this whole community! Check out her blog: http://www.leftoverqueen.com/ and don't forget to check out the blogroll (top left on this page).

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Prawn Coconut malai

My mother sent this recipe when she read my blog...haven't had a chance to try it yet but sounds delicious.

Ingredients
:
10-12 Prawn
2 Bay leaves
2 tsp Onion paste
1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
2 tsp Tomato Puree
halfcup coconut milk
1 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
few corriander leaves
3 tsp oil
Method:
1. Wash the prawn. Sprinkle salt and turmerice powder on them. Keep aside
2. Heat the oil, fry the prwan till the golden brown. Keep them aside.
3. Add the bay leaves in the remaining oil, add onion, ginger garlic paste and stir well. Add tomato puree turmeric powder, chilli powder, sugar and salt and stir till oils gets seperated from the mixture.
4. Add prawn now and mix it well.
5. Slowly add the coconut milk and then add half a cup of water and bring it to boil in low heat.
6. When the curry thickens, spread the ghee & garam masala powder evenly all round the pan.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice and Naan.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Veg. Noodles

Another concoction from Ishy's kitchen... we were expecting some evening guests for tea and I wanted to serve some warm noodles. also had bits of veggies in fridge that was in dire need of being cooked up - so in it all went with the noodles.

Ingredients

Noodles (any type)
Chicken stock: 2 bouillon cubes
Carrots: in thin slices
Cauliflower: 1 cup
Cabbage: 1 cup
Spinach: 1-2 bunches
Onion: 1 med in chunks
Garlic: 4 cloves in slices
Lite Soy sauce: 1/4 cup
Coriander powder: 2 tsp.
Red chili powder: 1 tsp.
Green chili: 2 split
Ketchup
Salt to taste
Mint leaves: 1 bunch
Oil

1) Bring the bouillon cubes to boil in 4-cups of water. Add the noodles and carrots. I add a 1 tsp of oil, 1 garlic and pinch of salt to the water.

2) Cut all veggies , onion and garlic into chunks.

3) Heat about 3 tbsp. of oil in a large pan or pot. Sautee the onions and garlic for 1 min or until onions are transparent.

4) Add the cauliflower and cabbage. Add salt to taste and coriander powder. Add soy sauce and stir fry. Let cook 2-3 mins in low heat.

5) Pour the the stock and noodles into the pan. Toss all together. Add the spinach, mint leaves, green chilis and red chili powder.

6) Pour some ketchup on top- abt 1/4 cup. Stir and cover. Let cook on low heatfor 4-5 mins or until stock dries out.

7) Sprinkle some tasting salt on the top and serve! Garnish with some mint leaves.

Enjoy!!

Eggplant, Pumpkin & Tomatoes

I have to really remember to take pics. i don't own a digi cam - but my camera on my phone works well...just not as beautiful as I see it up close =(

This is one of those "make it in the spot from whatever is in the fridge" dishes. It was getting late and I wanted veggies with dinner, so here goes my concoction. Cal and I really enjoyed it, hope you will too!

Ingredients

Purple eggplant: cut in chunks 2 cups
Sweet pumpkin: cut in same size chunks 2 cups
Tomatoes: again - chunks 2 cups
Garlic: about 4 big cloves in slices
Onion: 2 med size in chunks
Bay leaf: 1 big leaf
Sugar: 2 tsp.
Salt: to taste
Lime juice: 1 tsp
Fresh coriander for garnish
Oil: 3 tbsp.

1) Cut the veggies and onions in bite size chunks. Garlic in slices.

2) Heat oil in a wok or frying pan. Add garlic and onions and sautée.

3) Add the pumpkin and eggplant and stir fry for a 1 min. Add salt to taste.

4) add bay leaf and sugar, mix well. Cover and simmer for 3-5 mins on low heat.

5) Add lime juice and tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes are tender. Mix one last time. Remove from heat and ready to serve. Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves.

Enjoy!!

Chicken and Mushroom

Thursday, April 5, 2007: from bohemianbongo.blogspot.com. I cooked this dish when I was staying at my mothers' house in NJ and my lil brother was craving some non-desi meals. I was feeling particularly proud of my culinary skills with left overs so this blog was originally titled: i am an amazing cook! ;P

last night, i came home at 10p and Ryan wanted dinner but american/european meal. so the chicken was defrosting and i had picked up some mushrooms on the way home as well as this green eggplant shaped squash...just wanted to try it. anyway..i had no clue what to make! i ransacked my mother's cabinets and came across soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, maggie seasonings and chicken abode marinade. Had fresh limes, tomatoes and broccoli. and put some potatoes to boil.

i marinaded the chicken in a mixture of all the liquids w dash of lime. cut up 1 and half purple onions. I sauteed half the onions in some oil and put the chicken in. let it cook a little bit then poured in all the marinade into the pan and covered to let it simmer. next i had to fig out what to do w mushrooms. ryan wanted a gravy. meanwhile i boiled broccoli and the squash and Ryan made the mashed potatoes with too much salt!

to make mushroom gravy i boiled a half cup of water and mixed in 1 heaping table spoon of all purpose flour and made a thick concoction. the chicken was done on 1 side and flipped to brown the other. Pulled it out and put in serving plate. the pan had oil, marinade and the remainder onions cooked in. i poured in the flour concoction and stirred w a whisk to get a nice consistency then put in the mushrooms and cooked for a bit. added a bit of lime juice to give a bit of tangy flavor. once that was thoroughly mixed and cooked, poured over the chicken. served the broccoli, squash and tomatoes suateed in olive oil and garlic -and mashed potatoes on the side.

my goodness. the chicken and mushrooms came out fantastic! i should just open a restaurant!!! seriously make my best meals unplanned n from bare fridge and cabinets!

Sweet, Spicy, Sour Chicken Curry

Thursday, September 6, 2007: form Bohemianbongo.blogspot.com - my personal blog

I saw this recipe on TV the other night and tried out last night. Cal loved it. It gives a really unique taste to chicken curry... here goes the recipe.

You will need
Chicken - cut into pieces
Oil - for deep frying
Onion - chopped
Garlic - chopped
Ginger - chopped
Sour yogurt
Salt
Black Pepper
Chili Powder - adjust to your taste
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Bay leaf - 1 big
Cardamom - 2-3 pods
Cinnamon stick - half of 1
sugar
fresh chili and coriander

Clean chicken and cut to desired pieces. Marinate in salt and black pepper for abt 1/2 hr. Deep fry in oil just until it puffs up - it doesn't have to fully cook. Put aside for later. In the oil cook the onion, garlic and ginger till onions are transparent. Put in all the spices - adjust to your taste. Stir and cook the spices for a bit then put in the chicken and mix in with the spices. Pour water or chicken stock to cook the chicken in - cover and let simmer. Mix in sugar and salt into yogurt to your taste of how sour you want. Pour in the yogurt once the water is boiling. Stir well and cover and let simmer. Once the yogurt is cooked (it starts really soaked in the chicken) you have few options. You can adjust the sweet (add a bit more sugar), spicy (add a bit more chili powder) and sour (by adding sour yogurt).

option 1: mix in some green chili (split in half) and top it off with fresh coriander
option 2: mix in some almonds and cook for 2 more mins and serve with some almond slivers on top.
option 3: fry some onions till crispy and serve with it sprinkled on top.


Serve with fluffy white rice or parothas.

Tomato Chicken with Bell Peppers and Raw Bananas

Monday, September 24, 2007 : from my other blog: bohemianbongo.blogspot.com

We had a serious surplus of small green raw bananas after C's aunt sent over 2 batches over 1 week! I had never cooked or had raw bananas and it sat for another week till I was forced to figure out what to do with it. Our cook/servant only knew of using them in fish curries and I am not fond of buying fish (a lil scared!) so - we had to get creative. So one night we cooked it with beef curry and replaced potatoes with the bananas. The next day we boiled it a bit and then cut them like fries and cooked them like fries as a snack - realized it can be cooked like potatoes! Apparently 1 raw banana is equivalent to 1 potato in starch/carbs.

We had a half a big bell pepper left over and before it spoiled I wanted to use it up. But when he went to cut it - it was already half spoiled! So we had only a few pieces of bell peppers - hardly enough for even 1/4 of a chicken! Looked around - and aha! the dang raw bananas!! Cut them into little pieces and added them to the pile - wallah! Enough base for a good curry.

So here goes me experiment - brahahaha! It started off as a recipe I saw online but by the time I was cooking it - it became something quite different!

You need...
Chicken - cut into bite size marinate in 1 tsp salt
Bell pepper - 1 is enough for 1/2 chicken
Raw Banana - I used about 4 - these are small
2 Tomatoes or canned tomato puree will work
Onion, Garlic, ginger pastes (mixed about 3-4 table spoons)
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Red Chili powder
Fresh green chili - split lengthwise on top
Sugar
Salt
Oil
Fresh Coriander leaves
Bay leaf
Cinnamon stick
Tomato Ketchup 1-2 tsp (optional for a sweet/sour taste)

Prep time: efficient kitchen and quick chopping will take no time at all =)
Cook time: 15-20mins

Heat some oil in pan. Fry the banana, green chili and bell pepper. Take out and put aside - try not to overcook it.

In a blender, make a tomato puree. Take tomato or tomato puree, 2-3 cloves of garlic, pinch of salt, red chili powder and ketchup. Put aside.

In same oil put the pastes (onion, garlic, ginger) and fry till the oil rises to top. Put in the cleaned chicken pieces and fry for a bit. Pour in the puree and toss. Add the garam masala, a bit of salt, sugar. Let it boil for a few minutes. Put in the bananas and let it simmer. In 5 minutes put in the peppers and green chili so its still a bit crunchy.

Taste to see if it needs more sugar or salt. If its strong taste - add sugar to tone down and even the taste. It should be spicy, little sour and a little sweet and will smell and taste like chinese =)

Serve with fresh coriander sprinkled on top. It will look a nice reddish curry with green peppers/coriander and white-ish chicken.

Its a crazy concoction but it tasted surprisingly good with some rice! Btw - it isn't necessary to add the bananas - I added them cause I had so much to get rid off!

Peanut Butter Balls

C wanted something sweet after dinner the other night and for once there was nothing in the house-- being it was 11pm - no stores to go buy smth either - so the next day i went hunting for some recipes and came across this easy yummy recipe and decided to make a batch and always have in the fridge for that sudden sweet tooth craving!


You need...
Peanut butter
Sugar or icing sugar works better
powdered milk (optional)
Cinnamon(Optional)
Chocolate shavings of ur choice (optional)

In a bowl mix all ingredients to form a firm dough ball of the peanut butter. Taste along the way for sweetness that you like. Then take tiny bits and form little balls - I make little bite size about size of malt balls. Then roll them in some powdered sugar and cinnamon mix to seal and stick them in a box and into the fridge. Pop one whenever you feel like one =)

Note of Caution: pop sparingly - unless you want to start looking like a ball!